By Wayne Allen
For the first time in several years a Miss America qualifying pageant was held at the Vern Riffe Center For the Arts on Sunday Feb. 16. As a result of the pageant four were crowned.
Those that were crowned and given titles were, Gabby Bailey, 20 of Dover, OH was crowned Miss Shawnee 2014 and received a $1000 Scholarship. Elise Budowanec, 22 of Hinckley, OH was crowned Miss Portsmouth 2014 and received a $1000 Scholarship. Emma Atkinson, 14 of Frazeysburg, OH was crowned Miss Shawnee’s Outstanding Teen 2014 and has her entry fee paid to Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen Pageant. Olivia Anderson, 14 of Brunswick, OH was crowned Miss Portsmouth’s Outstanding Teen 2014 and has her entry fee paid to Miss Ohio’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.
Bailey is a student at The Ohio State University majoring in Dance with a minor in Business. Bailey’s talent is a contemporary dance to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and her platform is “Girls Grow Strong.”
Budowanec is a NBA cheerleader and student at Cuyahoga Community College with the intent to transfer to Cleveland State University to major in Special Education. Budowanec’s talent is a jazz dance to the song “Think” and her platform is “Community College Awareness.”
Atkinson is a freshman at Tri-Valley High School. Atkinson is a broadway vocalist and her platform is “Everyone Can S.P.A.R.K.L.E.”
Anderson receives her education at home. Anderson is a harpist and her platform is “Fill a Pantry, Feed A Belly”
“We planned a great show with the theme, ‘Love Miss America Style.’ We had very talented young women travel from all over the state of Ohio to compete right here in our hometown. It was very exciting and we couldn’t have been successful without our community sponsors and wonderful volunteers,” said Regina Speas executive co-director of the Miss Shawnee and Miss Portsmouth Scholarship Program.
Speas said efforts are now focused on helping titleholders prepare for state competition.
“(We are) absolutely looking forward to next year. This program provides such a great opportunity for young women and we are very excited to offer scholarship opportunities right here in Portsmouth,” Speas said.
Other scholarship winners included: Teen Interview $50 Scholarship Lana Percell of Wheelersburg, OH, Teen Evening Gown $50 Scholarship Katie Hitchens of Newark, OH, Miss Interview $50 Scholarship Justin O’Flaherty of Wooster, OH, Miss Evening Gown $50 Scholarship, Kara Wagner of Wheelersburg, OH, Teen 1st Runner-Up $100 Scholarship Katie Hitchens of Newark, OH, Miss 2nd Runner-Up $75 Scholarship Alexis Richter of New Bremen, OH, and Miss 1st Runner-Up $100 Scholarship Kara Wagner of Wheelersburg, OH.
For more information about the pageants, visit www.missportshawnee.org, or you can find the pageants on Facebook.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT