Once again the City of Soldotna was host to the State final competition for the Alaska Junior Miss Scholarship program. Ever since 1959, Alaska has participated in the Program and sent a representative to the national finals, which this year is celebrating their 47th anniversary. The mission of America's Junior Miss is to provide scholarship opportunities to outstanding, college-bound high school girls while encouraging personal development in all young people through its "Be Your Best Self" outreach program.
Soldotna Mayor David Carey attended the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Riverside House last week along with the 24 Jr. Miss contestants from all over Alaska and as far away as Nome. The Mayor took the opportunity to read an official proclamation declaring the first week of February Alaska's Junior Miss Week. "The Junior Miss Program is the oldest and largest scholarship program for college-bound high school senior girls in the nation, and contestants are judged on their performance in five categories: Interview, Scholastic Achievement, Talent, Fitness and Poise," said Carey.
It was a busy week for the 24 girls all-hopeful of winning the title of Alaska's Junior Miss for 2004. There were interviews, public appearances, and rehearsals for the Saturday night competition, which was held at the Soldotna Auditorium. Alaska's Junior Miss 2003, Rachel Warbelow, of Fairbanks, flew all the way from Indiana to be on hand to pass her title to the new Junior Miss 2004. Warbelow, an accomplished Cellist is presently studying music at the University of Indiana, and received a standing ovation for her performance at the Soldotna Rotary Club last week. "When I entered I wasn't even sure what Jr. Miss was all about, but I though it would be a fun thing to do never thinking I would end up the State winner and represent Alaska at the national Jr. Miss in Mobile, Alabama. It's been a wonderful year and Jr. Miss is a wonderful program and has made me a better person for having participated in it," said Warbelow.
The State Jr. Miss program offers winners over $10,000 in scholarships and prizes and the young woman chosen to represent Alaska will also receive an all-expense paid two-week trip to Mobile, Alabama in June. Kaitlin Vadla, a senoir at Sohi, is this years winner of the Junior Miss Contest. She will go on the compete for the title of America's Junior Miss and over $200,000 in cash scholarships.
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