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Lexington student named Distinguished Young Woman of Kentucky

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Posted at 7:13 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 12:53:43-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Fayette County public school student is Kentucky's Distinguished Young Woman of the year after competing against dozens of girls across the state.

17-year-old McKenna Sun is a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High in their math, science, and tech center program. If you ask her, she'd say science is her best subject. She received perfect scores on both her SAT and ACT standardized tests.

"Coming out of an immigrant family especially, I've always known that... I have big goals for myself, and I am like really dead set on trying to get out there and achieve them," said Sun.

After wowing judges with her intelligence, charm, and piano skills, Sun was awarded the top prize of a scholarship and chance to represent Kentucky to become Distinguished Young Woman of America in June.

"It felt very surreal in that moment standing on the stage and just hearing my name get called," said Sun.

Throughout the next year, Sun 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."

"Being my best self not only means just understanding myself, but it also means enabling other people to become their best versions as well. Because ultimately, I would say that my goal isn't necessarily for me to just be the only one that's healthy or ambitious or involved. My goal is to make sure that all the young girls out there are able to gain the skills as well," said Sun.

She wants girls everywhere to see what she's been able to do and be inspired to achieve their own ambitious goals.

"For all the young girls out there please step out of what you're used to and go explore whatever you can because ultimately it will always just help you," said Sun.

Sun was awarded $9,400 in cash scholarships.

The 65th National Finals will take place on June 23, 24, and 25, 2022, in Mobile, Alabama.

Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is a free program that encourages participants to reach their full individual potential. They've provided over $1 billion in scholarship opportunities, connecting with a nationwide network of women, developing their self-confidence, and participating in our Life Skills Workshops that prepare them for success after high school.