Junior Miss is a scholarship program, not a beauty pageant

Published 2:35 pm Wednesday, August 18, 2010

This Saturday night, six young ladies from Butler County will be taking the stage of the historic Ritz Theatre downtown to be a part of the Butler County Junior Miss Scholarship Program.

Please note, we did not say “beauty pageant.”

Anyone who has ever attended one of these events and, certainly, any young woman who has participated in the program, can tell you it involves much more than putting on makeup, a pretty dress and high heels.

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Each of these contestants has been working long hours this month, learning group dance routines, polishing talent performances, mastering the grueling physical fitness portion of the program and practicing their interview skills. They’ve also taken the time to write essays about what it means to be your best self.

One of these six will be awarded the coveted Junior Miss medallion this weekend, along with valuable college scholarship monies and the chance to join 43 other local winners to vie for the state title in January 2011.

It is no mean feat to make it through the county program; that’s why a number of colleges and universities offer scholarship monies to not only those who win, but to those who simply participate at a county level. Junior Miss-now known on the national level as Distinguished Young Women-has that kind of sterling reputation.

The program emphasizes the well-rounded high school senior, encouraging excellence in academics, physical fitness, on-stage performance skills and the ability to think and communicate clearly.

Since its inception in 1958 in Mobile, America’s Junior Miss has awarded more than $700,000 in scholarship monies to contestants. Such well-known personalities as Diane Sawyer, Deborah Norville, Kathy Lee Gifford and Debra Messing have all held state or national Junior Miss titles.

We encourage local citizens to come out Saturday night and cheer on the six local hopefuls, some of the “best of the best” our county has to offer. The program starts at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m.