Carrasco is R.I.’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2020

Carrasco is R.I.’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2020

North Providence High School senior Alexis Carrasco is Rhode Island’s Distinguished Young Woman of 2020.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – North Providence High School senior Alexis Carrasco has been named Rhode Island’s Distinguished Young Woman of the Year.

Her participation in the national program resulted in Carrasco earning scholarships to further her education, and has been an experience the NPHS student says she won’t soon forget.

She was encouraged to take part in the Distinguished Young Women program by last year’s state titleholder, Bailey Campbell, also of North Providence.

“Bailey walked into drama right after she won, pointed to people in the room and said, you should do it, you should do it, you should do it,” Carrasco said. “She explained that it’s something that makes you proud of where you’re from, honors all of us, and is like a big sisterhood.”

Carrasco took the bait and decided to participate in the nation’s oldest scholarship program for high school girls – formerly called America’s Junior Miss – founded in 1958.

The Distinguished Young Women program inspires participants to develop their full potential through life skills workshops and showcases in academic achievement, physical fitness and communication.

Carrasco said the requirements were challenging. Among them, she learned an eight-minute routine in just a few hours before performing it in front of a panel of judges, in addition to performing a solo dance number.

At one point during the competition, the judges asked Carrasco the following question: If you had a book based on your life, what would the title be?

“That took a lot of thinking,” she said. She settled on, “The Trials and Tribulations Between the World and Me.”

In part, Carrasco said the title is a nod to her social activism work. She was inspired to action after the February 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“I felt so numb,” she said, after hearing the news that 17 people had been killed in the shooting. “I want to be a positive change in the world, and it was just awful seeing these things happening and being helpless,” she said.

Sick of feeling helpless, she decided to “be the change.” She approached Jason and Aimee Ryan, who helped set a path for the creation of NPHS’s Kingian Nonviolance program and the Center for Peace and Nonviolence based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of conflict resolution.

Carrasco founded her school’s Students Against Violence Everywhere club, and took part in the 2018 March for Our Lives. As a freshman she attended the Women’s March in Providence, an experience she said “broadened my horizons completely.”

“Before then, I knew things were wrong but I didn’t know what I could do to help. I felt small,” she said. “I have opinions and I can and will debate anyone on any topic, but I didn’t feel I was making a real change.”

She intended to stay for 30 minutes. “I stayed the entire time talking to everyone I met, learning everything I could,” she said. “I finally understood that I could stand for something. That shifted my whole entire perspective.”

Carrasco started a poetry club at NPHS, is co-choreographer for the drama club, is a longtime dancer, and works at Edible Arrangements. She also participates in Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse and Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Asked what’s next for her after NPHS, she joked, “world domination.”

On a more serious note, she said the award has opened doors for her to further her education with a series of scholarships. She won a $2,000 scholarship by being named R.I.’s winner, and earned an additional $450 “spirit award” and $250 talent award.

Eventually, the daughter of Kelli Price and Felix Carrasco hopes to become a pediatrician.

After she graduates in June, she’ll head to Alabama for the national stage of the Distinguished Young Women competition where she’ll compete against representatives from across the U.S.

Win or lose, she has zero regrets about participating in the program and urges other young women to try it.

Over the course of the weekend, Carrasco said, “I bonded with the other girls and we became very good friends. That’s commonly talked about with the program. Even if you don’t win, you’ll meet new friends, hear different perspectives and experience this unity. I found a massive family.”

“There are so many opportunities,” she continued. “Young girls need programs like this to show off their personality, unity and sisterhood. It’s so important having young women be the future leaders of tomorrow.”