'04 Jr. Miss Kaitlin Vadla, SoHi, congratulates '05 winner Elena Bird, KCHS
Since 1981 the Central Peninsula has been host to the State Junior Miss Scholarship Program. The largest scholarship program of its kind for college bound high school seniors from all over Alaska. This year Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Dale Bagley proclaimed the first week in February Alaska Junior Miss Week on the Kenai Peninsula in honor and recognition of the annual competition. This year the 17 contestants not only spent the week rehearsing and preparing for the Saturday night talent program, but visited Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and Rotary luncheons where they showcased some of the contestants talents and program features. Additionally the young women participated in the Be Your Best Self program where the girls visited elementary schools in the area and presented their program to 5th & 6th graders.
The contestants pay their own way to the state finals each year and the Jr. Miss program and scholarships are entirely funded by private contributions, "We have bills that have to be paid that we have to earn money for, so we sponsor a medallion money raffle and that helps pay for our scholarships and the night of the show the ticket sales helps to pay for the theatre expenses. Everybody who works on the program is volunteer or sponsored," said program coordinator Mary Green. The program also instituted a silent auction gift basket this year to help with funding of the scholarships. The theme of this year's program was dance fever and featured outstanding dance numbers from the disco era of the last century.
Jr.Miss contestants from all over Alaska await to hear the results of the '05 Jr. Miss program at KCHS auditorium.
Abby Kremer came all the way from Nome to compete in the Jr. Miss Program and said it was much more about the experience of participating in the program than the winning, "I came down here to meet the girls and make new friends and experience new things through the Jr. Miss program, I'll keep this experience and my new friends with me the rest of my life," said Kremer.
When the big week was over, the interviews completed, and the talent competition finished, the judge's scores were tallied and it was Holly Stebing of Anchorage, placing as runner up and Elena Bird, a senior from Kenai Central High School that became the 2005 Junior Miss. "I'm so grateful for all the support that everyone has given me, what I said in my self expression statement was very true, that my life has just been an abundance of love from my family and friends and I can't thank them enough. I gave this day to God, and it is really His, I wasn't graceful enough to even walk across the stage let alone be here among all these talented young women," said excited Bird after winning the title. Bird receives a four-year presidential tuition scholarship from UAA and a $3,000 cash scholarship plus the trip to Mobile, Alabama to compete in the national Jr. Miss finals in June.
Danielle Severson was selected for the Marti Steckel Spirit of Jr. Miss Award as well as the Be Your Best Self Essay Award.
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