Starkville’s own Mallory Pitts begins competition tonight in Mobile, Ala. for the 2012 title of America’s Distinguished Young Woman.
Starkville DYW program coordinator Susan Keith said Mallory, the daughter of Michael and Stephanie Pitts, is a wonderful young woman who has proudly represented the organization’s program.
“She’s an amazing young woman who is such a positive role model,” Keith said. “She is a phenomenal ambassador for our city and state.”
Preliminary competition begins tonight at 7 p.m. in the Mobile Civic Center Theater where Pitts, along with other contestants, will perform her talent, an up beat gymnastic routine set to a Charlie Daniels medley of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
Pitts said her talent is one she is blessed to have, but humbled by each and every day.
“Gymnastics has been such a love and passion of mine from an early age,” Pitts said. “It has instilled very important character traits such as mental toughness.”
Pitts said she moved to Starkville in 2011 looking to find and get involved in something that was bigger than herself, hoping to find an outlet that would introduce her to young women striving after the same thing she was in life.
“My mom quickly introduced me to the Distinguished Young Women program,” she said. “I instantly fell in love with not only the people, but also what the program represented.”
The “Be Your Best Self” program was adopted by the DYW program as its platform in 1987.
“It encourages young women to be their best selves by five elements: be healthy, be ambitious, be involved, be responsible and be studious,” Pitts said.
Keith said the women competing in this scholarship program have a mission that encourages others to strive to be their best selves and promotes excellence.
“Morality, integrity, honesty, love, respect and hope are all part of they message they deliver,” Keith said. “They are reaching out to young people, encouraging them to make a commitment to setting high goals and striving to attain them.”
Tonight and Friday evening will see all 50 contestants compete in the preliminary rounds, culminating in the final night of competition where the top 10 finalists will be revealed and a young woman will walk away with the title of America’s DYW.
Pitts said it has been an honor to represent the state of Mississippi over the past year and she is thankful for every volunteer along the way, from the local to national level.
“I have never met such amazing people in my entire life,” she said. “I would not be where I am today without them.”
To learn more about Mallory Pitts, as well as information on the rest of the contestants and ticket availability, visit http://www.ajm.org  or call 251-438-3621.
To watch the final night of competition live, visit http://www.local15tv.com  beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 30.