2018 Distinguished Young Woman Aaryan Morrison calls Indiana home

2018 Distinguished Young Woman Aaryan Morrison calls Indiana home
Aaryan Morrison, winner of the 2018 Distinguished Young Women, is a first generation American. Her parents are from Africa. (Facebook)

Aaryan Morrison is the 2018 Distinguished Young Woman (DYW) of America. She was named Saturday night at the 61st National Finals program at the Mobile Civic Center Theater.

Morrison, of Kokomo, Indiana, was one of 50 participants who spent two weeks in Mobile staying with host families, touring the local community and participating in the competition. Her prizes include more than $30,000 in scholarship money. She’s a Kokomo High School Class of 2018 salutatorian and has expressed a desire to work for the United Nations’ humanitarian development program.

The Distinguished Young Women program began in 1958 and was originally known as America’s Junior Miss.

It not only provides thousands in scholarship dollars, but also helps participants with leadership and other life skills.

2018 Distinguished Young Women from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Many participants in the program describe it as a family environment.

“We rely heavily on volunteers, which breeds an environment that makes you feel that you have an extended family nationally,” said Jessica Sawyer, Director of Marketing and Communications with Distinguished Young Women. “We have mothers and daughters and husbands and wives who work with this program because they believe in the power of these youth, and want to nurture them and foster an environment that encourages them to be their best selves.”

While staying in Mobile, the young ladies literally got a taste of the local culture by participating in events like the oyster-eating contest at Wintzell’s and a rib-eating contest at Saucy Q’s.

Gov. Kay Ivey also shared inspirational words at the Mayor’s Leadership Breakfast on Friday. Gov. Ivey was the 1963 Wilcox County representative to Alabama Junior Miss.

[Gov. Ivey gives heartfelt speech]

Two former national winners, Amy Goodman (1991) and Nora Ali (2007) hosted the event along with Michael Brannon of RadioAlabama. Distinguished Young Women has impacted the lives of more than 765,000 young women.

 

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