Eagan teen to compete in ‘distinguished’ contest

SES senior competes this weekend in Distinguished Young Woman competition for state title, college scholarship

Eagan resident and School of Environmental Studies senior Catie Deysach will compete on March 2 in the Distinguished Young Women state finals at Eastview High School. The program judges contestants’ academics, interview, fitness, talent and self-expression. The winner will receive a college scholarship. - Photo submitted

Eagan resident and School of Environmental Studies senior Catie Deysach will compete on March 2 in the Distinguished Young Women state finals at Eastview High School. The program judges contestants’ academics, interview, fitness, talent and self-expression. The winner will receive a college scholarship. – Photo by Jessica Harper

In a world bombarded by beauty pageants, one Eagan teen hopes to be crowned for her intelligence, poise and talents.

Catie Deysach, 18, will compete on March 2 in the Minnesota Distinguished Young Women state finals at Eastview High School.

“I’m nervous but excited,” Deysach said. “There’s a lot of talented girls.”

The competition is a part of the America’s Distinguished Young Women program, which is one of the nation’s oldest and largest scholarship programs for college-bound high school senior girls.

Deysach, a senior at the School of Environmental Studies, will compete against seven other girls from across the state and will be judged on academics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression. Self-expression consists of several factors including confidence, poise and eloquence.

The fitness portion of the contest will test the girls’ strength, endurance and flexibility through solo and group routines.

As Deysach prepares for Saturday’s competition, she’s focusing on practicing the fitness portion.

“I wasn’t as fit as I thought when I started,” she said. “It’s fun to see how far I’ve come since the local program.”

As in most contests, contestants are able to perform the talent of their choice. Deysach plans to perform a baton twirling routine.

All contestants submitted their high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores and a recommendation from their guidance counselor prior to the event.

Deysach was a top finalist in the local program called At Large, which enabled her to compete in the state finals.

At Large is a local Distinguished Young Woman program for teens who don’t have a distinguished program in their hometown.

Deysach heard about the program from her church youth group leader, who encouraged her to enter.

Deysach said she wasn’t sure about entering at first but was intrigued by the contest’s focus on academics and talents instead of beauty.

“I like that I’m able to show who I am as a person,” she said. “This is more about being a good person who is smart, healthy and the best person I can be.”

Although Deysach lives in Eagan, she and the other contestants will stay with host families in Burnsville. While there, the girls will be disconnected from the Internet and cellphones to rid them of all distractions from the task at hand.

If Deysach receives the title of Minnesota’s Distinguished Young Woman, she will earn a college scholarship and advance to the national competition in June in Mobile, Ala. As of Feb. 27, the organization was in the process of collecting funds for the scholarship and hopes to provide $8,000 toward the winner’s college education, said Summer Cline, state chair of the Distinguished Young Women program. On average, the winner receives a $3,000 scholarship.

Deysach plans to use the scholarship to attend St. Mary’s University in Winona.

Tickets for the state finals can be ordered by emailing Minnesota@distinguishedyw.org.

For more information on the Distinguished Young Women program, visit www.ajm.org.

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