From a group of twenty-four contestants from all over Alaska, a team of out-of-state judges selected SoHi senior Kaitlin Vadla to become the 2004 Alaska Jr. Miss.
Vadla who has become well known during her high school career for her community involvement and academic achievements almost passed on the Jr. Miss competition. "I just didn't think it was my thing, I thought it was a beauty pageant, this was really a stretch for me and I did not see myself doing this at all, but my Mom and friends told me it was a scholarship program, so I went for it, and I had so much fun this week it was incredible these girls are not ditzy or jerky, they are so smart and talented it's just amazing and I would encourage everyone to do it, and now I can certainly tell you, it's not a beauty pageant it's a wonderful program for girls who want to continue their education," said a surprised and elated Kaitlin shortly after winning the title.
Winner Kaitlin Vadla receives roses and hugs from other Jr. Miss contestants at last weeks statewide scholarship competition at SoHi.
Vadla said she was excited about going to Mobile Alabama to compete in the national, "I think it's going to be one of the best experiences of my life, I may have to start doing some more sit-ups to prepare, but I'm not just representing myself anymore, I'm going there for all these girls, and the whole state of Alaska," said Vadla.
Competition coordinators agreed that this year's competition was perhaps the greatest in the history of the Jr. Miss scholarship program, "Not only were there more girls than last year, but we had more contestants from a greater variety of other areas of the state than ever before, and this group of girls were truly outstanding," said Mary Green veteran Jr. Miss coordinator. Taking the First runner-up title was Sonja Head of Nome, Second runner-up went to Brittany Gardner of Soldotna, and the outstanding scholastic achievement award went to Colleen Gould of Anchorage. The Marti Steckel "Spirit of Junior Miss" Award was given to Lindsay Dudley of Soldotna, and Karina Peterson, of Soldotna, won the "Be Your Best Self" award.
As 2004 Jr. Miss, Vadla receives a four-year presidential scholarship to the University of Alaska, $3,000 cash scholarship, expense paid trip to national Jr. Miss finals, professional photo shoot, and an arm full of roses. By the time Kaitlin had left the stage Saturday night however most of the beautiful long stem roses had been given away to the other contestants in this year's program, Kaitlin's new friends, "That's Kaitlin," commented her mother Penny. The next day Kaitlin took some time to be with her horse and muck out his stall.
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