FIRTH – Grace Christensen is the Distinguished Young Woman (DYW) of Idaho 2019. Besides graduating from Firth High School this week as one of her class’ valedictorians, she is also preparing to compete in the DYW National Finals in Mobile, Ala., June 27-29.

What does she like best about Distinguished Young Women?

“DYW helps girls become their best selves,” she said. “Through this program, girls develop confidence, learn stage presence and public speaking. “

On June 15, Christensen leaves for the national finals.

“I’ve never been to the south before; I’ll be there over two weeks,” she said. “We’ll be doing service projects and preparing for competition. I just received the fitness routine. A lot of flexibility is required as well as muscle — strength moves — and a lot of cardio.”

What has she been doing to prepare for the competition?

“For the fitness routine, I’ve been working out lifting weights, practicing the routine and running, as well as eating healthy,” Christensen said.

She also practices her talent as well as her interview skills.

“I am before a panel of people I don’t know once or twice each week; they interview me for 10 minutes.”

For her talent, she will present a compilation of fiddling tunes in the allotted 90 seconds. Christensen has earned many awards for her fiddling.

About the competition, Christensen said, “It is going to be really fun. I found out my roommate is the Distinguished Young Woman from Connecticut. The father of my host family is a professional photographer. My mom is so excited that there will be lots of photographs.”

Each host family picks up their DYW “daughters” from the airport and houses them during the national finals. The young ladies are driven to all their engagements by the host family during this two-week period. Fifty-one Distinguished Young Women from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., will be competing.

“I will be doing my talent on Thursday evening, June 27, and my self-expression and fitness on Friday evening, June 28,” Christensen said. “The top eight — not the top 10 — will be introduced and compete on Saturday, June 29, for the finals.”

Both sets of her grandparents, all her family, an aunt and family friends will join Christensen in Alabama for the finals competition.

“I’m so excited,” she said.

Christensen is the first representative from the Firth/Shelley DYW program to earn the right to represent Idaho at the national finals.

DYW is a national scholarship program that inspires high school girls to develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments.

The program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 765,000 young women and more than $108 million in cash scholarships has been awarded at the local, state and national levels combines.

As stated in the DYW literature, “Distinguished Young Women strives to give every young woman the opportunity to further her education and prepare for a successful future.”

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