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Harksen reigns as 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of Madison County

Lauren Harksen steps to the mic to answer judge's questions. She was named Madison County's Distinguished Young Woman of 2015. (CONTRIBUTED)
Lauren Harksen steps to the mic to answer judge’s questions. She was named Madison County’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2015. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Lauren Harksen is Madison County’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2015 and won talent, fitness and self-expression categories. Thus far, her combined winnings are $2,700 in scholarships.

In talent competition, she performed a contemporary dance to “Joy” by Ellie Goulding. “The song showed joy and happiness come from within and not from other objects or people. Happiness is a choice,” Harksen said.

Formerly called “Junior Miss,” the Distinguished Young Women scholarship program promotes academics, leadership and talent. Any girl that’s a high school senior can enter her county’s local program.

“The contest was very nerve-wracking for all of us,” Harksen said about the weeklong venture at Bob Jones High School. “We were so excited by the end of the week that all of our hard work paid off. The experience was so worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Harksen became interested in the program because numerous fellow students at The Dance Company participated and even won. “I got the privilege to be the ‘little sister’ of first runner-up Jessica Newton in last year’s program,” Harksen said.

For 15 years, she has studied ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop and contemporary.

“The next step is state,” Harksen said. “The journey has just begun.” She will vie with county winners for the Alabama state title in January 2015.

A senior at James Clemens High School, Harksen participates in Student Government Association, Family Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), National Honor Society and prom and homecoming committees. At CrossPointe Church, she helps with leadership, welcoming and drama teams.

She was Ultimate Top Model with EMP Studios.

With The Dance Company, she earned the “Hollywood Vibe” scholarship and Universal Dance Association second-place state solo and All-American Team. She was named James Clemens Theatre’s “Choreographer of the Year.”

With PTA Reflections, she won first place for James Clemens and Madison County.

Her parents are Steve and Debbie Harksen. The family moved to Madison in 2005 with Steve’s job from Rockwall, Texas, Lauren’s birthplace.

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