Junior Misses "travel" to the top

Published 7:11 am Wednesday, August 8, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Participants of the 2008 Escambia County Junior Miss Scholarship Program dazzled the crowd with knowledge, talent and charisma Saturday night at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton.
Thirteen young ladies vied for the title of Junior Miss, performing to different songs including "Sweet Home Alabama," "California Girls" and "Georgia on My Mind" with a theme of "Let's Travel."
Board member Melissa Nichols felt the event went well.
"It was wonderful," Nichols said. "And it was a new beginning."
Last year Escambia County did not have a Junior Miss program and the 2007 Escambia County Junior Miss, Rachel Ellis, competed through the Birmingham Southern College Junior Miss At-Large Program. Ellis was also at the event Saturday night to pass on the title.
Sonya Ellis, another board member for the Escambia County Junior Miss Scholarship Program, agreed that the event went over without a hitch.
"We were very pleased," Ellis said. "That was the first one that this community had put together and we were really pleased at how things came off."
Atmore's Caitlyn Grace Luttrell won the competition, walking away with a tuition scholarship for four semesters to Jefferson Davis Community College, a $3,000 cash tuition scholarship and an official medallion. She will also compete in Alabama's Junior Miss Scholarship Program.
Luttrell is a student at the Alabama School of Math and Science and is the daughter of Rusty and Debbie Luttrell.
Nichols said each participant Saturday night excelled and that the task of judging the competition could not have been an easy one.
"They were so talented and there are so many talented young girls in the county," Nichols said. "I would've hated to be one of the judges."
Ellis said the girls performed "beautifully" and that the crowd seemed to also have a good time.
"I would've hated to have been a judge," Ellis said. "There was so much talent there. I think the audience enjoyed it too."
Being a part of Junior Miss is a large accomplishment and takes a lot of time and energy from the girls participating, Nichols said.
"I think Junior Miss is an excellent way for a girl to excel," she said. "It takes guts to be in Junior Miss. Being awarded Junior Miss is such a reflection of them and being a part of it really is hard on them."
Participants of the event were judged on different categories. The evaluation process comprised of an interview, talent, scholastics, fitness and self expression.
The interview counted for 25 percent of the final score. Each contestant had a 10 minute interview with the panel of judges. The judges looked for perception, clarity of expression, sense of values, ability in human relations and concern for others.
Talent was also 25 percent of the final score. Participants were judged on originality, technical ability, appropriateness of selection and costume and stage presence.
Scholastics were judged by a separate panel of educators. This panel looked at transcripts of grades in core classes, college prep classes, electives, scores on scholastic tests and college entrance exams. Scholastics counted for 20 percent of the participant's score.
Fitness was 15 percent of the final tally. Judges evaluated coordination, stamina, ability, posture and carriage without regard to physique or athleticism.
And, self expression also was 15 percent of the score. Judges looked at the elements of grace, poise under pressure, carriage and posture, composure, speech and sense of style. Each contestant also gave a speech on a topic she feels strongly about.
The 13 participants of the 2008 Escambia County Junior Miss Scholarship Program include from Flomation High School, Tara Jocelyn Brown and Lauren Cheyenne Holt. From T.R. Miller High School, Amelia Catherine Couture, Mary Catherine Turner, Ashleigh Elizabeth Jones, Kathryn Castelin "Cassy" Granade and Morgan Taite Cardwell. From W.S. Neal High School, Maggie Claire Crutchfield and Kristin Hope Coleman. The Atmore participants include Alabama School of Math and Science student, Luttrell; Escambia Academy students Anna-Lisa Catherine McGhee and Kristen Courtney Bruley and Escambia County High School student Jordan Elizabeth McGill.
The winners of the event included, Spirit of Junior Miss, McGhee; Be Your Best Self Essay, Couture; Fitness, Cardwell; Self Expression, Bruley; Scholastics, Jones; Talent, Holt; second alternate, Couture; first alternate, Holt and 2008 Escambia County Junior Miss, Luttrell.
Each winner received a $500 cash tuition scholarship with the exception of second and first alternates and the winner of the entire event. Second alternate received a $1,000 scholarship, first alternate received a $2,000 scholarship and Luttrell received the scholarship to JDCC.
Ellis said Junior Miss is a way for young women to showcase their abilities and also to earn money to further their education.
"It is an opportunity for the young ladies in the community to be recognized for their talent and their hard work at school," Ellis said. "It gives them the opportunity to earn scholarship money for higher education."

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