When a group of local women set their minds to providing scholarship opportunities to young women, you can almost bet they are going to include a pageant.
The Miss Portsmouth and Miss Shawnee Scholarship pageant committee is pleased to announce they have a total of 20 contestants to compete this Sunday for the titles of Miss Portsmouth, Miss Shawnee, Miss Portsmouth’s Outstanding Teen, and Miss Shawnee’s Outstanding Teen.
The four winners will all represent Portsmouth in June at Miss Ohio in Mansfield in hopes to win the crown and move on to Miss America in July and September. The Miss Portsmouth and Miss Shawnee pageant is a preliminary pageant to Miss Ohio. contestants participating in Sunday’s event are eligible not only for the locally sponsored scholarship money, but in addition both Miss Ohio scholarships and Miss America scholarships. The Miss America Scholarship Organization is the single largest scholarship provider to women in the United States.
For the first time since the reorganization of the Miss Portsmouth pageant, they are pleased to announce there are four local women competing for the titles. Whitney Jenkins, former Miss River Days First Runner-Up, and Baylee Martin, current Miss River Days First Runner-Up are both competing for the Miss Titles and Kylan Darnell and Raelen Perry both students at Wheelersburg High School are competing for the Teen Titles.
There are four phases of competition and three of those will be presented to the public on Sunday afternoon at the SOMC Friend’s Center beginning at 3 pm. Contestants will compete in private interview, on stage question, evening wear, and teens will compete in Lifestyle and Fitness.
Perry was asked why she wanted to run for the Teen title. “I decided to participate because I wanted to get back into pageants!” She said she used to compete when she was younger. She also said the opportunity to make new friends, receive scholarship money, as well as getting to represent a title would be a bonus. She said she plans to obtain a doctorate in veterinary medicine to help all pets and convey why everyone needs to ‘Fix the Math, Fix your Pets’. “I would love to educate people on how fixing their pets helps decrease the pet population, since there are so many animals in shelters without a forever home.”
This will be her first pageant competing with talent and fitness so she is a little nervous about that. She said it would be an absolute honor to be eligible to compete for Miss Ohio Outstanding Teen. “I can’t wait for Sunday so I can show my friends and family how hard I have been working to be the next Miss Shawnee/Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen!”!
“I have attended the Miss Portsmouth and Miss Shawnee Program, since I was a little girl and always wondered whether or not I would one day be a contestant,” Jenkins said. She said she was encouraged to compete since her former River Days pageantry as Miss Northwest. “My hope is that by participating in this local Miss Ohio preliminary program, other local girls will consider competing.”
“My primary focus would be supporting and promoting the Children’s Miracle Network and I would work to make a difference in my local community, and state, while empowering young women to be confident as they will be our leaders of tomorrow,” Jenkins said. “Additionally, my plan is to support a cause that is dear to my heart, STEM4KIDZ, which I founded and created to advocate for early STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.”
Jenkins said she’s not sure why it has been several years since a local girl has competed. “To be honest I really am not sure why girls from our local area have chosen not to participate in the program,” she said. “If I were to be selected as a titleholder, I would like to promote the Miss America Organization in the Portsmouth area by holding informational sessions and explaining to young women that by participating in a local prelim, it can help them become a stronger leader in the future.”
Darnell says she was Little Miss Portsmouth when she was three years old. “It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, to hold the Miss Portsmouth Outstanding Teen and the Miss Portsmouth titles.” She has participated in the Cinderella scholarship pageant that prepares you for the Miss America system. As for what she plans to talk about on Sunday, “I am an athlete, a scholar, and a community service leader, so I plan to talk about these attributes, along with my platform which is Give Me F.I.V.E.
“This is a lifestyle for me, so winning a title or not, will not change anything,” Darnell said. “I will continue to prepare for a state or national level title. I hope to use my success in this area, to achieve my future goals and use my crown as a microphone to help the needs and give back to my hometown, the Portsmouth area. I do enjoy every phase of competition. My favorite, is definitely interview, because I have a lot to talk about, I love meeting people, and talking about my volunteer work. I am very excited for Sunday!”
*An attempt to reach Baylee Martin was unanswered as of press time.*
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928