Caitlin Reeser is focused on the educational benefits of competing in Distinguished Young Woman contests.

She recently won York County's Distinguished Young Woman 2013 competition, getting a $12,000 higher education scholarship. She also won a $400 fitness award scholarship.

Caitlin, who will be a senior at Central York High School, will represent the county at the Pennsylvania Distinguished Young Woman competition Saturday at Johnstown High School in Cambria County.

"The opportunity is so amazing, a chance for more scholarship money," she said. "That's what I'm really excited about. My parents are really happy about that, too."

Caitlin, 16, was to leave for Johnstown Sunday and will stay with a host family during the week leading up to the state competition.

"I think this competition is going to be just as great and tough as York was," she said. "I'm just hoping to do my best. I'm hoping to form friendships quickly."

For her talent, Caitlin said she will twirl baton. She's been twirling baton since she was 4, and is a two-time national champion. Caitlin said she recently placed third in the 16-23 age group at a national baton twirling competition held in Carrollton, Ga.

Since winning the York Distinguished Young Woman competition, Caitlin said she visited Goode Elementary School in York City to read to students and talk to them about the DYW program's "Be Your Best Self" platform.

"(The platform) promotes having self-esteem behind putting effort into everything you do," said Caitlin, the daughter of Karen and Scott Reeser.

A distinguished honor roll student, Caitlin said she has her eye on the University of Pittsburgh. However, if she decides to attend York College, another $18,000 will be tacked onto her scholarship.

"I'm still deciding where I'll be going," she said. "For my career, I want to go into child psychology. I love working with children."

-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at