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Niles grad distinguishes herself

Distinguished Young Woman contestant represents Ohio

July 4, 2012
By KATHLEEN EVANOFF The Niles Times , Tribune Chronicle |
Typically a student’s senior year of high school is a busy one, but for 2012 McKinley High School graduate Stephanie Yasechko, the year was particularly busy, partly due to her participation in the Distinguished Young Woman of America scholarship program. Yasechko first competed in the regional competition, formerly known as America’s Junior Miss, last October at a competition in Mount Vernon. After qualifying to represent Trumbull County, in February Yasechko went on to win the title of Distinguished Young Woman of Ohio at the state competition also held at Mount Vernon. Representing Ohio, last month Yasechko traveled to Mobile, Ala., to take part in the national Distinguished Young Women of America scholarship program. The competition, in which contestants from all 50 states were judged on scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self expression, is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. ‘‘I didn’t make the top 10, but all the girls were so amazing,’’ Yasechko said. ‘‘Just to compete against their caliber of scholastics was amazing.’’ Although Yasechko didn’t qualify for scholarships on the national level, she was awarded a full scholarship to Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., for winning the state title and plans to attend there in the fall, majoring in biochemistry. Yasechko said she plans to pursue either medical school or a college of pharmacy. While at Huntingdon, she will also be twirling baton with the college band as a majorette. Yasechko spent two weeks in Mobile. The week prior to the competition was spent working with underprivileged children at the Dumas Wesly Community Center during their summer camp sessions. Yasechko and other scholarship competitors taught other girls about the scholarship program, played games and sports and did crafts with at-risk youths at the center. They also were able to spend some time sightseeing and on the beach. During their stay in Mobile, contestants stayed with host families. ‘‘Southern hospitality really came into effect while I was there,’’ Yasechko said. During the two weeks, Yasechko said she made a lot of friends and keeps in touch with several of them over the Internet. The final competition was held June 30 with Christina Maxwell of North Carolina winning the 2012 title of Distinguished Young Woman of America. Yasechko is the only child of Ron Yasechko of Niles and Kim Bagnoli of Austintown. While at Niles McKinley High School, she was involved in the Key Club, National Honor Society, French Club, English Festival, Band, majorette, Student Council, Students for the Environment and the Anti-bullying club. She also was a candidate for the Clayman scholarship award.


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