Distinguished Young Women of Alabama

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Distinguished Young Women of Alabama, formerly Alabama's Junior Miss and Alabama's Young Woman of the Year, is an annual scholarship competition which is used as a qualifier for the Distinguished Young Women National Finals (formerly America's Junior Miss) in Mobile. The state program awarded $32,200 in scholarships in 2022, with the national winner receiving a $130,000 cash scholarship.

The Mobile Junior Chamber of Commerce created the national Junior Miss competition in 1958 as an extension of their annual Azalea Trail Maids program, a local event which dated to the 1920s. The program, which is open to high school seniors, has always highlighted academic achievements in addition to talent, physical fitness, poise and appearance. It has never had a swimsuit competition and is no longer marketed as a "beauty pageant".

The America's Junior Miss national finals were first broadcast on network television, on NBC, in 1965. In 1973 it moved to CBS and was hosted by Michael Landon. The name of the program was changed to "America's Young Woman of the Year" between 1989 and 1992, but reverted to America's Junior Miss in 1993. In 1995 the competition lost its network broadcast and was shown on Raycom Media with sponsorship from the Retirement Systems of Alabama. It was moved to The Nashville Network from 1999 to 2001, and then to PAX TV. With the loss of national sponsors, organizers worried that the 2005 competition would be the last. A "Friends of AJM" group organized to preserve the program. The 2020 competition was conducted online due to the COVID pandemic.

It adopted its present after the 2010 finals. Notable previous winners of the national competition include Mary Frann and Diane Sawyer. Notable winners of the statewide competition have included four Miss Alabamas and U.S. Senator Katie Britt.

38 of Alabama's 67 counties hold local competitions to crown a representative in the statewide pageant. An "At-Large" competition is open to applicants from other counties. The statewide event is currently held at Frazer Church in Montgomery. Alabama's program chair is Michael Jones.



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