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Who will be the next Butler County Junior Miss?

This Saturday evening, nine high school seniors from across the county will take the stage at the Greenville High School Auditorium as they vie for nearly $6,000 in scholarships, and the chance to represent Butler County as its next Junior Miss.

The annual event is slated for 7:30 pm on Saturday, Sept. 11.

‘We’ve got the boogie fever’

It’ll be time to slip into your platform shoes and shiny polyester shirts, and boogie on down this weekend – because &uot;Junior Miss Has Disco Fever&uot;. This year’s theme will offer the audience a truly ‘funkadelic’ flashback to the sensational ’70s, says Carol Lee, chairman of the Camellia City Junior Woman’s Club (CCJWC), the organization sponsoring the local program.

&uot;We think we have a truly fun program on tap this year and it should be a great evening for all,&uot; Lee adds.

‘Emphasis on education’

While a fun night is certain to be in store, there’s a serious reason behind it all. America’s Junior Miss, one of the world’s largest scholarship programs for college-bound women, puts the major emphasis on higher educational opportunities for the nation’s high school senior women.

Carol Lee and the CCJWC are happy to spread the good news about Junior Miss and the opportunities it offers local girls.

&uot;We were so excited when last year’s Butler County Junior Miss, Cile Martin, got a full scholarship to the college of her choice, Livingston University. The scholarship opportunities for Junior Miss participants are phenomenal. And that’s not just the national and state winners who earn scholarships, but the local winners, too,&uot; Lee enthuses, adding, &uot;In some cases, anyone who participates can earn a partial scholarship to a number of schools.&uot; Twenty-one colleges and universities across the state offer special Junior Miss scholarships.

‘Brains, talent…and muscles, too’

The nine young women have been spending many hours in rehearsal at the GHS auditorium in recent weeks as they try to perfect their fitness routines and streamline the talent portion of the program.

While the financial rewards can be generous, it can be a tough road for participants as evaluators look for the most well rounded young woman taking the stage that night.

Make no mistake: This is no pageant

&uot;The girls have to work really hard to get to that stage on Saturday night. They have to be more than cute; they have to be sharp – and in shape. Those fitness competitions can be tough,&uot; Lee laughs.

Each of the young women will be evaluated in the following categories: scholarship (based on grade transcripts and placement test scores), poise, talent and fitness.

Individual cash scholarships will be awarded in each of those categories, along with the coveted &uot;Spirit of Junior Miss Award&uot; going to the young woman, chosen by her fellow participants, who most exemplifies the spirit of the competition.

The local winner will go to Montgomery for a week-long preparation prior to state finals. The state winner will travel to Alabama’s historic port city, Mobile, for the national finals next year.

‘A word of thanks’

&uot;We appreciate all the local sponsors who have helped us with donations to our scholarship fund as well as all those who donated gifts and services to the Butler County Junior Miss program. Butler County is absolutely wonderful about supporting programs for our youth like this one,&uot; Lee says.

Out-going Butler County Junior Miss, Cile Martin, will also tell you a big part of the local program’s success is the constant encouragement, moral support and family atmosphere offered by the members of the CCJWC, now in their ninth year as program sponsors.

&uot;They were so great to me all along my road to the state Junior Miss finals. The ladies sent me cards, letters, gifts, flowers – and they were there for me in Montgomery, cheering me along every step of the way.

&uot;I felt sorry for some of the other girls who didn’t have anyone but their parents there when I had an entire entourage. I felt really lucky to be representing Butler County,&uot; Martin, a graduate of Fort Dale Academy, says.

Lee says being sponsors for the local program has built friendships within the club, providing them with many enjoyable memories and giving CCJWC members the satisfaction of knowing they can be a source of encouragement for the county’s youth.

&uot;It’s hard work putting this all together each year – but it’s been a good experience for all of us,&uot; Lee emphasizes.

Lee and the CCJWC encourage the public to turn out and cheer on their favorite Junior Miss participant at 7:30 pm on Saturday night at the GHS Auditorium. Tickets will be $5 at the door.