On Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, Ella Wittmuss of Vermilion was named the Distinguished Young Woman of South Dakota for 2021 and awarded $500 in cash scholarships during a statewide scholarship program for high school girls held digitally this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wittmuss was one of three high school senior girls from South Dakota who competed to represent the state as the Distinguished Young Woman of South Dakota for 2021. Participants were evaluated in the categories of Scholastics (25%), Interview (25%), Talent (20%), Fitness (15%), and Self-Expression (15%).
Throughout the next year, Wittmuss will represent the state at various public events and serve as a role model to young people by spreading the program’s national outreach message of “Be Your Best Self.” The outreach program is designed to encourage self-esteem and excellence in all young people through its five principles: Be Healthy, Be Involved, Be Studious, Be Ambitious, and Be Responsible.
Wittmuss is the daughter of Sarah and Alan Wittmuss and is a senior at Vermilion High School.
At this time, the Distinguished Young Women National Office remains optimistic for an in-person National Finals experience. The 64th National Finals will take place on June 24-26, 2021, in Mobile, Ala. Wittmuss will travel to Mobile, along with 49 other representatives from across the country, to participate in personal development activities and community service projects before competing for the opportunity to become the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2021 and for additional cash scholarships. Kentucky’s Elif Ozyurekoglu, who is attending Columbia University, was named the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2020.
Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. Our mission is to empower young women by providing over $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, developing their self-confidence and participating in our Life Skills Workshops that prepare them for success after high school. National sponsors include Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation, Mobile County, City of Mobile, Alabama Power Foundation, Master Boat Builders, Encore Rehabilitation, Shoe Station, Gant Travel Management, Wellington and Bonnie Coffeen, Regions Financial Corporation, Jostens and Alabama Media Group.