With confidence in the scholarship program’s success, organizers took the leap in adding in a new title set they felt was needed.
“We began the Miss Lake of the Ozarks Scholarship program four years ago giving a title (Miss Lake of the Ozarks) in two divisions; Miss and Outstanding Teen. These titles are ‘open’ for any eligible contestant in our state. Our goal was to eventually add a ‘closed’ title to give local and new contestants a better opportunity to win a local title and go on to compete at Miss Missouri,” said Wendy White, Miss Lake of the Ozarks Pageant executive director. “When we received 27 entries this year, we knew it was time to take that step of faith and add the new title this year. We added a ‘closed’ title, Miss Osage River, for Miss and Teen contestants that have never competed at Miss Missouri.”
After its successful program Saturday evening at School of the Osage’s Cummings Auditorium, four titleholders were crowned.
Now, the 2011 titleholders — Miss Osage River Outstanding Teen Kelby Czerwonka, Miss Lake of the Ozarks Outstanding Teen McKensie Garber, Miss Osage River Jessica Arl and Miss Lake of the Ozarks Malorie Howe — will move forward to the Miss Missouri and Miss Missouri’s Outstanding Teen pageant June 8-11 in Mexico, Mo., and chance to advance to the Miss America pageants later in 2011.
The Miss America Organization is the largest single source of scholarship funds for young women in the world and at all levels is a completely non-profit organization, according to its website.
Before audiences cheered their favorites and watched the pageant program, contestants rehearsed the production on Friday and conducted private interview with panels of five judges. This area of judging accounts for 25 percent of overall competition scoring and is added to the four pageant areas of competition — talent (35 percent), evening wear (20 percent), lifestyle and fitness (15 percent) and on-stage question (5 percent).
Audiences saw a variety of talent on stage this year, including ballet, lyrical, jazz and musical theater dance along with unique and new numbers such as Bollywood dance, color guard, show twirl and clogging. Many contestants showed off their vocal talents and others performed on the piano and marimba.
No matter their talents, eloquent delivery of answers to on-stage questions or presence in fitness and formal wear, the titleholders have to take those high points made at the pageant and perfect them before moving on to the next level of competition.
“We have already began preparing the new titleholders by meeting with them first thing Sunday morning. We talked through the five areas of competition to see where they felt they most needed our help,” White explained. “I have a wonderful and talented prep team, including two former state titleholders. As needed, we will begin setting up community appearances, mock interviews, searching for new talent ideas, evening gowns, meet with a personal fitness trainer, modeling practice, etc.”
Before vying for Miss Missouri honors, the regional titleholders have many duties to perform as part of their four areas of presentation as a Miss Lake of the Ozarks or Miss Osage River.
The four points of the Miss America crown represent style, success, service and scholarship. White added that service is a very important component of the Miss America organization.
“In addition to partnering with Miss America’s national platform, the Children’s Miracle Network, each titleholder also has a personal platform that they promote. I will help our new titleholders get involved in our community in those areas as well general areas,” White said. “For example, Miss Lake of the Ozarks Malorie Howe’s platform is Alzheimer’s awareness and discovery. I will definitely be contacting Amy and Peter Hernandez to offer their help at the annual Forget Me Not Ball.”
“Each year, our titleholders are very involved with the community by helping with Kiwanis functions, Rotary functions, visiting our schools and present to students, etc.,” she added.
Along with training and representing these four main areas throughout the year, they also acquire some wonderful prizes at the local level and chance to win scholarship funds at the state and national levels.
As the new titleholders prepare for their next round of competitions, other young ladies may look to enter the next scholarship pageant program in late October or early November next year. With the new titles, White hopes the program continues to grow.
“The Miss Lake of the Ozarks Scholarship program provides opportunities for young women to achieve their personal and professional ambitions. Contestants also participate in community service activities and develop leadership skills that help them excel in their chosen career and life goals,” she said. “As a not-for-profit affiliate of the Miss America Organization we have given more than $6,000 in scholarships in only four years.
“Each year our titleholders speak to hundreds of students in our community about relevant topics such as ‘making right decision’ and ‘positive character traits.’ Our community benefits by having these young ladies as wonderful role models and active in numerous community fundraisers and activities.”
For more information about the Miss Lake of the Ozarks Pageant program, visit www. misslakeoftheozarks.org. See more photos from Saturday’s event, see page 13 or visit www. thelaketoday.com.