Alaska has crowned a Junior Miss every year since 1959. Last week Alaska Junior Miss 2001, Kara Merrill, a Soldotna High School graduate, left her college classes and returned home to crown the new Junior Miss. Accompanied by 17 contestants from around Alaska, Kara joined the Soldotna Rotary Club for lunch last week and gave them a preview of talent to be presented at the program. The Soldotna Club has been an on-going supporter of the Junior Miss scholarship program for over 20 years. "Without the kind of support the Junior Miss program has received from clubs like Rotary and local businesses, we would not have been able to sustain the program over the years," said Mary Green a Junior Miss program coordinator and volunteer.
Talking about her year as Alaska's Junior Miss, Kara Merrill said, "The night I won, I really couldn't believe it. I have been so proud to represent such an incredible group of girls. They really were absolutely wonderful and extremely talented and I was so proud to represent them at nationals where I was overwhelmed at the amount of support and hospitality that was shown to all the girls." Over $250,000 in scholarship money was awarded to 50 girls at the national competition. "That money helped to fund the dreams of 50 girls to go to college and head on into their future. It was an incredible experience that I'll never forget, and has made an everlasting impact on my life. I so appreciate all the sponsors that have helped to make my dreams come true," said Merrill.
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