Luttrell wows judges

Published 7:17 am Wednesday, August 8, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Atmore's Caitlyn Grace Luttrell took the title of the 2008 Escambia County Junior Miss Scholarship Program winner, proving to her family and friends that hard work and dedication pays off.
Luttrell, a student at the Alabama School of Math and Science, competed against 12 other young ladies from Escambia County Saturday night at the Junior Miss program at Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton. Luttrell is thrilled to have won Junior Miss, but said she did not anticipate the win.
"I am very excited," she said. "I really wasn't expecting it. I was really nervous. When they called my name out, I was thinking, 'What? Can you repeat that?"
Making lasting friendships is an important part of the program and Luttrell said it was her favorite part.
"You really do meet a lot of really nice people," she said. "When you are doing a program like this, you expect some of the girls to be tripping you or putting a fan over your face while you are asleep to make you sick, but nobody was like that at all. Everybody was really sweet and supportive and I made a lot of great friends."
Luttrell decided to try out for the 2008 Escambia County Junior Miss Scholarship Program because she remembered years back when one of her babysitters was a Junior Miss participant.
"It just sounded like a lot of fun so I decided I would tryout," she said.
When Luttrell's name was called out as the winner, she was ecstatic. But, her parents, Rusty and Debbie Luttrell, were also thrilled for her.
"My parents were so excited," Luttrell said. "I think my mom screamed louder than I did. When they called out my name, I was like 'what?' and I heard my mom scream. My dad was really excited, too. They were both really supportive."
The Junior Miss program is a way for students to earn scholarship money to further their education. The judges look to see not only how physically fit or graceful the young ladies are, they also look at academics. Twenty percent of the final score was based on the scholastics of the young women and another 25 percent was based on an interview process with the judges.
Luttrell has shown her skill in academics through school and extracurricular activities. Luttrell has been a part of her school's Scholars Bowl team, cross country team, tennis team, a member of the youth legislature, the soccer team, the basketball team, she is a member of First United Methodist Church, she has been a docent at Oakleigh Mansion in Mobile, she sponsors a child in Equador and she's played Kate Mullins in the "Titanic." She intends on going to the University of Alabama in Birmingham to major in civil engineering.
All of the achievements Luttrell has made over the years helped her take home the title of Junior Miss, but that was not the only work she had to put in for the win.
"We've been practicing for the past two months, but last week we practiced Tuesday through Friday," Luttrell said. "We went through everything and even changed some things over the week. I spent some time practicing with the mic for my talent. We also had to give a 20-second speech about a certain topic and before I went on stage and every night I'd practice that. I could probably say it in my sleep."
Luttrell won a tuition scholarship for four semesters to Jefferson Davis Community College, a $3,000 cash tuition scholarship and an official medallion.
She hopes to take some classes at JDCC over the summer, which she will transfer to UAB.
Luttrell is already revving up for the Alabama Junior Miss program Jan. 11-20 and said she is grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of the statewide program. The 2007 Escambia County Junior Miss, Rachel Ellis, has already told Luttrell what to expect in Montgomery.
"Rachel told me all about it and said I'd love it and that I'm going to have a great time," Luttrell said. "Apparently they have planned activities every night and it just sounds like a lot of fun."
Luttrell appreciated Kathy McKinley and the board of directors' efforts to get the Junior Miss program up and running.
Thank you to everybody who helped me get to where I am," she said. "And thanks to Mrs. Kathy and the board of directors for starting the program up and raising the money for us to be able to participate."

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