Desoto County News

Southaven student among Distinguished Young Women winners

Photo: Iris Xue of Southaven at the Mississippi Distinguished Young Women Scholarship competition at Meridian. (Courtesy photo)

A Southaven woman was one of the top winners at the recent Mississippi Distinguished Young Women Scholarship competition. 

Iris Xue of Southaven was named first alternate, which provides a $5,000 scholarship. In addition to that, Xue earned $2,000 for winning Overall Scholastics and a $400 Self-Expression Preliminary Award for a total of $7,400.  

Twenty-nine Mississippi girls competed for more than $33,000 in scholarships. The five competition areas were scholastics, interview, self-expression, talent, and fitness.  

The Distinguished Young Women competition, formerly known as America’s Junior Miss, celebrated its 66th annual competition. Founded in 1958, the competition showcases the accomplishments of high school senior girls seeking to pursue higher education. To date, this program has awarded over $118 million in cash scholarships to young aspiring women. It is considered the largest scholarship program for high school girls in the nation.  

Previous alumni of the competition, previously known as America’s Junior Miss, include broadcast journalist Diane Sawyer, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, aerospace engineer Marlo Graves, and Maenette Benham, chancellor at the University of Hawaii, Oahu. 

Xue is a rising senior at the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS) in Columbus. Before attending MSMS, Xue attended DeSoto Central High School, where she received a perfect ACT score of 36 and served as Sophomore Class President, Interact Club Officer, Future Business Leaders of America Treasurer, Southaven Mayor’s Youth Council Representative, and Jagathon Executive Board Member. 

Xue also played varsity tennis on the DeSoto Central tennis team and won the Region 2-6A Girls Doubles Tennis Championship.

Xue continues to play varsity tennis at MSMS, where she became the Class I MHSAA Tennis State Championship Girls Doubles Runner-Up. 

Sadie Perkins of Hattiesburg was named the Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi for 2023 during the program held in Meridian.

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