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Area teen heads to national contest

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Faith Christian School senior Kennedy Miller, 17, on Wednesday at the school. Miller was recently named the Distinguished Young Woman of North Carolina 2018.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A senior at Faith Christian School recently was awarded the title of Distinguished Young Woman of North Carolina and is now working to represent her state at the national competition this summer.

Kennedy Miller truly is a distinguished young woman in every sense of the word. She excels academically, serves as senior class president and performs regularly in school musicals using her award-winning vocal talents.

“This whole experience has been surreal,” Miller said. “I was very surprised to win, but I am looking forward to representing my state and to meeting the other girls from across the nation.”

In her spare time, she volunteers with SAFE, an organization designed to raise awareness and education about human-trafficking, a topic Miller feels passionately about. She also leads a prayer group at her school where students pray for victims of human trafficking.

“When I was in eighth grade, I saw a video about human trafficking on the A21.org website and it broke my heart,” Miller said. “Human trafficking is a large industry worldwide and there are more slaves today than at any time we know in history. It is a hidden problem, but a ginormous issue.”

Miller has several college options to choose from. However, for now, she is leaning toward attending the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she has already earned a $10,000 scholarship and is hoping to earn more. Miller plans to double major in vocal performance and political science and eventually plans on attending law school. Her eventual goal is to defend victims of human trafficking in court.

After winning the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Rocky Mount in September, Miller went on to compete in the state level competition in January. At the local level, Kennedy was recognized as a preliminary winner in all five categories judged: interview, scholastics, talent, fitness and self-expression.

As the Distinguished Young Woman of North Carolina, she was recognized in the areas of interview and self-expression and as the overall scholastics winner. She has earned a total of $14,850 in college scholarships so far between the local and state programs and she hopes to win additional scholarship funds at the national finals, which will be held in June in Alabama.

Rocky Mount is becoming known for its track record of sending contestants to the finals. Sharon Dees, co-chairwoman the Distinguished Young Women of Rocky Mount and a former contestant herself, said the program is in its 37th year in Rocky Mount.

“Distinguished Young Women of Rocky Mount (formerly Rocky Mount's Junior Miss) held its first local program in 1981,” Dees said. “Since that time, Rocky Mount has had five young women selected as state winners. Our local program has the distinct honor of having the most winners out of all other local programs.”

The local chapter of the national scholarship program is offered free of charge to girls in the Rocky Mount area. Dees said that the program focuses on helping young woman become the best versions of themselves.

“Through our Life Skills program, which includes workshops and online resources, participants can learn skills like interviewing, public speaking, self-confidence building and much more. These skills not only prepare everyone for our program but also for the world after high school and college,” Dees said.

For more information about the Distinguished Young Women of Rocky Mount, go to http://rockymount.nc.distinguishedyw.org/

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