Fifteen young women have traveled from their hometowns and arrived in Kenai to take part in a week of activities for the Alaska Junior Miss Program.
Click here for a photo gallery of participants.
The girls are attending workshops, luncheons, rehearsals, making public appearances and giving "Be your best self" presentations to area students. The young ladies, including central Kenai Peninsula participants, will stay in the homes of host families.
The week's preparations culminate Saturday at the Kenai Central High School Auditorium. The theme of this year's program is "Northern Nights" and is under the direction of Bud Draper. Special guest is Alaska's official balladeer, Hobo Jim. Debbie Fucile, Northwest regional coordinator of America's Junior Miss, will travel from Spokane, Wash., to attend the program.
Tickets will be available at the door. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
Contestants are judged on the same five categories on the local, state and national level: interview is 25 percent; talent, 25 percent; scholastics, 20 percent; fitness, 15 percent; and poise, 15 percent.
The Junior Miss program is unique because it uses scholastics as a judging category and does not charge an entry fee to participants.
Those taking part in the program will compete for cash scholarships totaling nearly $10,000 in 11 categories: Alaska's Junior Miss, first runner-up, three finalists, overall scholastic achievement, overall talent, overall fitness, overall poise, "Be Your Best Self" essay and the Marti Steckel Spirit of Junior Miss award.
The young woman chosen to represent Alaska at the 2001 state finals will travel to Mobile, Ala., in June for a two-week, all-expense-paid opportunity to compete for the title of America's Junior Miss and more than $100,000 in college scholarships. The final night of competition in Mobile will be broadcast live on TNN.
The Alaska Junior Miss Scholarship Program is a franchised arm of America's Junior Miss, which just celebrated its 43rd anniversary and is the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school senior girls in the nation.
Alaska has a history of association with the America's Junior Miss since its first representative was chosen in 1959. The mission of the program is to provide scholarship opportunities to outstanding, college-bound high school girls and encourage personal development in all young people through its "Be Your Best Self" outreach program.
Alaska's Junior Miss is sponsored by individuals and businesses locally and statewide, including BP Amoco, Tesoro Alaska, Allan and Alfie Norville, National Bank of Alaska, IBEW Local No. 1547, Rotary Club of Soldotna, Fireweed Fence, The Fitness Place, Healthy Changes and others.
The following are profiles of those who will compete in Saturday's contest.
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