Eighteen high school senior girls from around the state have arrived in Kenai to compete for the title of Alaska Junior Miss 2002. This year's program will be hosted by 2001 Alaska Junior Miss winner, Kara Merrill, and will be held at the Kenai Central High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Saturday.
The contestants have spent the week rehearsing routines, attending luncheons, presenting workshops for area schools and preparing for the main event.
Seven Kenai Peninsula high school senior girls will be among the contestants vying for the title. They include Shannon Smith of Kenai Central High School, Sabrina Johns of Nikiski High School, Katie Lockwood of Skyview High School, Jenna Pitts and Tabitha Stauss of Soldotna High School; Nahanni Wills of Homer High School and Tember Eliason of Seward High School.
Today's activities include "Be Your Best Self" presentations at Redoubt Elementary, Soldotna Elementary and Sterling Elemen-tary schools and lunch at the Soldotna Rotary. Those who plan to perform include Jenna Pitts, Sabrina Johns, Shannon Smith and Tabitha Strauss.
Friday, contestants will make an appearance for lunch at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center. Performances will include those by Anna Romersberger of Fairbanks, Ashley Lund of Anchorage, Briana Sullivan of Chugiak, Erin Huff of Sitka and Kasey Poe of Eagle River. There also will be a presentation at the Boys and Girls Club in Kenai.
America's Junior Miss program was founded in 1957 and is the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school senior girls. More than 700,000 young women compete at the local, state and national levels, with $28 million available in scholarships each year.
Past national winners include Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Deborah Norville of Inside Edition and Julie Moran, weekend anchor of Entertainment Tonight.
The categories in which each contestant is evaluated are scholastics, 20 percent; interview, 25 percent; talent, 25 percent; fitness, 15 percent; and poise, 15 percent.
The program's goal is to honor young women who excel in all these areas and to encourage them to continue on the path of excellence by completing their college educations and assuming roles of leadership in their communities and professions, thereby setting an example for other young women to follow.
In addition to cash and tuition scholarships, the young woman selected will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 44th annual America's Junior Miss National Finals in Mobile, Ala., where she will represent Alaska. The national final competition is scheduled to be broadcast live June 28 on the PAX channel.
Tickets for Saturday's event will be on sale at the door. They are $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens.
For more information, contact Teresa Gamble at 260-3819.
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