Katie Lockwood says she comes alive on stage, and that's just what she did Saturday night on the stage of the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium in Kenai when she was named Alaska Junior Miss 2002.
Jenna Pitts of Soldotna High School was first runner-up in the competition.
Lockwood, familiar to followers of community theater as Hodel in "Fiddler on the Roof" and Vaneeta in "The Music Man," performed "Happily Ever After" from the Rogers and Hammer-stein Broad-way musical "Once Upon a Mattress" as her talent.
"I would love to be a singer," the 18-year-old Skyview senior said. "It would be nice to go to Broadway.
"The whole reason I got involved in Alaska Junior Miss is my love of theater. I will take any opportunity to get on stage and perform. It's one thing makes me extremely happy in life."
Lockwood plans on a double major of political science and musical theater, and would like to go into criminal litigation law and eventually politics. She has applied to the University of Colorado, University of Saint Benedict at Saint Johns in Minnesota, and is applying to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.
"I know I want to go into politics, and I want to be the first woman president someday," she said. "I've got big ambitions."
The Alaska Junior Miss Scholarship competition was not all song and dance for Lockwood, or any of the other 16 contestants. She found the interview to be the most challenging aspect of the event.
"They asked a lot of political questions," she said.
One judge from Tennessee rattled off a list of notable names and asked her to identify them.
"The questions ranged from who was the current American Junior Miss to who the governor of Alaska and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright are," she said. "They also asked me what I would do if I were president after Sept. 11."
Lockwood said she would follow the same course as President George W. Bush and tell the country it will be safe and there will be no negotiation with terrorists.
"And that we'd fight and get bin Laden and not let terrorists mess with our country," she said.
Lockwood, the daughter of Erin and Harry Lockwood of Soldotna, also is involved in National Honor Society, is a member of the Skyview Student Council executive board, a soccer player and the student representative to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board.
She will continue with musical theater and plans to audition for both the Kenai Players' production of "The Sound of Music," and Skyview's production of "Once Upon a Mattress."
Lockwood said she was apprehensive about competing is Alaska Junior Miss.
"It seemed like a beauty pageant to me, but I realized it's not," she said.
She said she now gets defensive if friends call it a beauty pageant.
"I doesn't have anything to do with your appearance, but with where your strengths are and if you're a well-rounded person," Lockwood said.
"They are looking for the most well-rounded person," the 17-year-old senior said. "The message it sends out is very positive."
Pitts, the daughter of Reean and Dan Pits of Soldotna, played "Andante and Allegro," a classical piece by Andre Chailleau, on the alto saxophone.
She plans on majoring in international business and attending Penn State University in Pennsyl-vania.
"I feel I've gained a lot of confidence in myself and my ability to perform," she said. "And I got to meet a lot of really talented people. It was a very good experience.
"I think Katie will do a great job."
Both young women said the week-long rehearsals for the opening fitness number was the hardest part of the event. The contestants, from all across the state, also served meals and performed at the Kenai and Soldotna senior citizen centers. They addressed the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and spoke at area elementary schools on "Being Your Best Self."
"I think it gave them all some self-confidence," said Alaska's Junior Miss publicity chair Teresa Gamble. "The event turned out really well. It's a really worthwhile program."
Lockwood received a $2,000 scholarship for winning, as well as a photography session with Magic Moments Photography.
Pitts won a $1,000 scholarship, while the other finalists, Kasey Poe and Shannon Bookman of Anchorage and Anna Romers-berger of Fairbanks, received $500 scholarships apiece.
Pitts also won another $1,000 as the overall scholastic winner. Nahanni Wills of Homer won a $1,000 scholarship for overall poise. Shannon Smith of Kenai Central High School tied with Erin Huff of Sitka for the "Be Your Best Self" essay award and will split a $250 scholarship.
In all, $9,200 in scholarships were presented Saturday night.
Lockwood will represent Alaska at the America's Junior Miss national finals in Mobile, Ala., June 28. It will air live on PAX TV, which is available on satellite TV here, but not cable. Scholarships totaling $200,000 will be presented there.
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