Seniors from Fortuna, Arcata compete in state contest

On July 18, two Humboldt County students —including one from Fortuna High School — joined 27 other scholastically accomplished high school seniors in Bakersfield for the Distinguished Young Women of California State Finals, preparing to compete for $40,500 in college scholarships. The 58th Annual Distinguished Young Women of California State Finals, formerly known as California's Junior Miss, will begin at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday at the Harvey Auditorium.

Twenty-nine outstanding young women from across the state will be vying to be recognized as the Distinguished Young Woman of California for the Class of 2015 and the opportunity to represent the state at the 59th Annual Distinguished Young Woman National Finals in Mobile, Alabama in June 2015. The upcoming event in Bakersfield serves as the state preliminary for the national event.

Kayleen Kemp was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of the Redwood Coast. She is a rising senior at Fortuna Union High School, and her parents are Tara and Joseph Kemp. Kayleen participates in extracurricular activities such as Fortuna FFA (where she is chapter president) and student government (where she is student body president). She aspires to attend a four-year university. Her talent for Distinguished Young Women of California is a piano solo.

Sophie Northern was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Humboldt County. She is a senior at Arcata High School, and her parents are Tamryn and Jeffry Northern. Sophie participates in extracurricular activities such as CSR (where she is President) and Interact Club (where she is Co-President). She aspires to attend UC San Diego or Humboldt State University and become an athletic trainer or coach. Her talent for Distinguished Young Women of California is Irish step dancing.

Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Alabama, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national non-profit scholarship program for high school girls. During its 56 years of operation, the program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 730,000 young women. Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided more than $108 million in cash and college scholarship opportunities to program participants at the local, state and national level.

Previously known as America's Junior Miss, the program announced its new name in June 2010. The mission of Distinguished Young Women is to positively impact the lives of young women by providing a transformative experience that promotes and rewards scholarship, leadership and talent.

For more information, visit www.distinguishedyw.org/ca, or contact Debbie Porwoll, California State Chairman, via email at debbie@cajrmiss.org. Visit us on Facebook at Distinguished Young Women of California and follow us on Twitter at dywca. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance for $15/10 each. Three-night passes and family packages are also available.

Distinguished Young Women of California is sponsored by CBIZ, Brandt Consolidated, Amtrak, and Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center. Board of Directors Members include Jerry Randall, Jim Tuttle, Ed Thomas, Catherine Cloews, Patrick Jennison, Sally Schiavon, Frank Colatruglio, Candy Singh, Terra Gaines, and Stephanie Peters.

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