(Hannibal)—This Father’s Day, a proud Dad will see his daughter travel to Mobile, Alabama to represent the state of Missouri in a national competition. 

Ashley Cummins of Hannibal will participate in the 56th Annual Distinguished Young Women National Finals.  The event taking place June 27th through the 29th was formerly known as America’s Junior Miss competition.

Cummins won the Distinguished Young Woman of Missouri title in July 2012.  Prior to that, she won the Miss Spirit of St. Louis Outstanding Teen and placed in the top 10 in  Missouri Outstanding Teen competition for two years.

Cummins says interest in pageants comes from her mother, Melissa, who competed at a similar age.  Ashley says judges at the Nationals will rate contestants in 5 categories...

"They judge you on scholarship and academics, also an active wear competition where you have to perform a 5 1/2 minute aerobics routine we had to memorize.  They also judge your talent-- mine is dancing.  There is an interview process where judges ask questions about your bio, and then there is self-expression--you have to wear a dress and do a little dance on stage and answer an on-stage question to show you can talk in front of a large group of people and be confident in yourself."

Cummins will compete with winners from 49 other states for a share of more than $100,000 in scholarships and the title of 2013 Distinguished Young Woman of America.

The young ladies will also participate in activities beyond the glitter and glamour of the stage..

"We're going to be doing some activities with our Girl Scout Troops we've partnered with; mine is the Daisy Troop which are the 5 year-olds.  We're also going to a place called Camp Grace to do some community building activities there.  I know they've done things in the past with Habitat for Humanity and different organizations throughout the community of Mobile.  So it's not only a pageant, but we also get to give back to the community.  I'm excited and looking forward to that."

Ashley is a 2013 graduate of Hannibal High School and the daughter of Melissa and Richard Cummins.  She plans to begin a course of study in biology this fall at St. Louis University, with the goal of becoming a pediatrician.

To view the live webcast of the Distinguished Young Women Finals, visit http://www.distinguishedyw.org on Saturday, June 29th at 7 p.m.  To see photos of participants during their time in Mobile, visit http://www.fpvision.com.