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Wesley cherishes Jr. Miss experience

New friends and new challenges during the experience of a lifetime: Butler County Junior Miss Isabella Wesley has gained the former and mastered the latter.

During her busy week of preparation leading up to the state JM finals in Montgomery last weekend, Isabella did everything from visiting the zoo, to learning about swine flu, with luncheons, parties and many, many rehearsal hours in-between.

“We had to be at Frazier Memorial (the site of the state program) by 8 a.m. every day and typically got home at 11 every night,” she said. “The pace was the toughest thing for me.”

There was little time to get homesick for friends and family, the Fort Dale Academy senior says: “You were just way too busy.”

Isabella said she was amazed and pleased by the volume of cards, letters and emails sent to her during Junior Miss week.

“Being able to get those really made a difference,” she said with a smile. Her host family, the Kirklands, their five children and three dogs were very welcoming “and so much fun to be with.”

Isabella says her Butler County supporters comprised one of the “biggest cheering sections” for any contestant last weekend.

“They all had pink glow-sticks so I could look out and tell where they were,” she laughed.

Her favorite part of the experience? “Oh, all the girls, definitely. So many talented and sweet girls. I’ve made so many friends I know I will hang out with at Alabama,” Isabella said.

For any young woman considering entering the Junior Miss Scholarship Program, the county’s reigning Junior Miss had this advice: “Be ready to put a lot of time into it and be very dedicated. There were weekends I didn’t get to be with my friends. There is a lot of preparation involved, but if you want the chance to go and have so much fun at state, you’ll do what you have to do.”

Starla Jones, chairman of the Butler County Junior Miss Scholarship Program, said Isabella did an “excellent” job representing the county at state.

“I heard many compliments from people on what a lovely job she did and how well she represented us.”