Miss River Days candidates 2021


Staff report



Rylee Johnson-Miss Valley

Rylee Johnson-Miss Valley


Carly Stapleton-Miss Wheelersburg


Arianna Thomas-Miss Portsmouth


Madison Russell-Miss West


Meet the final four of your 2021 River Days Contestants and learn a little bit about them. Each of the girls will be representing their home schools this Saturday, September 4, 2021.

My name is Arianna Thomas and I am your Miss Portsmouth River Days candidate. My platform is Autism Awareness. I am passionate about this subject because my younger brother was diagnosed at age four after many screenings and trips to specialists. He is now 14 years old and programming and functioning very well with the help of his school and the autism community in his county. We do not treat him differently, we just adjust the way things are done, in order for him to be successful. It is important to know that having autism doesn’t make you stupid or unable to learn, autism changes the way those living with it, learn. My hope is that those individuals living with autism spectrum disorder will be treated as normal human beings and respected, just as we all want to be respected.

I am honored to be representing Portsmouth High School as a River Days candidate because I have also looked up to the young ladies who have gone before me. I have dreamed of this moment since second grade and I would like to be the one to bring the crown back to our school. We haven’t had a winner since 1994, and I am looking forward to trying to change that. In school, I am active with varsity cheer and track. I am also a member of the show choir, “Expressions.” Outside of school, I have a part-time job and volunteer at the 14th Street Community Center with the outreach and the catcher’s mitt programs. Both of these help children in high-risk communities with drug prevention and coping skills as well as a tutoring program. I am also active in my church, teaching in the children’s ministry and helping with the junior ushers. I also help with food prep and serving meals within the church and the community.

My goal after college is to attend Clemson University or the University of South Carolina where I plan to pursue a degree in pediatric nursing. If I were to be crowned Miss River Days, I would use my platform, not just for autism awareness, but to reach all to all young ladies, and let them know that no matter what your situation is now, you can overcome it, and be anything you set your heart and mind to do if you work hard!

Hello, My name is Rylee Johnson and I am your Miss Valley 2021. I am the daughter of Chuck and Joni Johnson of Lucasville, the sister of Lauren Johnson, an aunt, niece, and friend to many. I would like to start off by saying a few things about myself, as a chance for you to get to know who I am a little bit better: I am a member of the Lucas Chapter National Honor Society, a choir and drama student, a dual college credit student at Shawnee State University, a varsity basketball and tennis player and when I am not doing River Days activities, you can most likely find me working at Roosters in Waverly or with family. I chose mental health as my platform in an effort to help educate and define this crisis that affects so many. I believe that proper education is sometimes unavailable in this area, and I want to change that. Although you cannot see mental pain as easily as you can see physical pain, it is just as important and should be addressed and treated. It is imperative that we remove the stigma of mental health and the message I want to send to everyone is that it’s okay to not be okay but to always remember that it will be. You are not alone. Growth is not linear, but growth is growth. Always be proud of yourself and how far you have come. My love for helping others and my love for advocating for mental health has led me to pursue a career in the medical field in the near future.

My goal is to become a Nurse Practitioner to help young adults with their health- mentally and physically. My platform is important to me because I was once the kid who struggled with mental health. I know what it is like and if I can help to educate others on it and help just one person.. Then I call it a success. I don’t want to stop there though, because my biggest goal is to help as many people as I possibly can in this life. Throughout my entire River Days experience, I have had the privilege of having a community service event, going to other events, and interacting with the community as a whole. I am so proud to be representing my amazing community as Miss Valley, and I plan to make them proud. I want to be Miss River Days because I have a plan, and I do not plan to stop educating others on mental health after the pageant is over. This is a lifelong goal for me and becoming Miss River Days will allow me to share my story and educate others on a wider platform. I want to be Miss River Days because I want to help people, and I believe that with my platform, my will, and the title of Miss River Days, I will have an even better chance of doing just that. Being Miss River Days would mean everything to me because helping other people who are struggling is everything to me.

Hello, I am Madison Russell. I am blessed to be the 2021 Miss West for the Unshakeable Portsmouth West Senators. I am excited to have this opportunity to represent my school and community. I am currently taking College Credit Plus (CCP) courses at Shawnee State University to obtain college credit hours toward my degree in Pharmacology while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. I am a member of the National Honor Society, a four-year BETA Club member with a back-to-back state math champion title, participant of OMUN, HPAC, Key Club, prom committee, BeWise STEM camp, and a varsity cheerleader.

The Miss River Day Pageant has given me the opportunity to share my heart, my platform: Find

Hope: COPE- Don’t Hide Behind a Smile. As a teenager, I have endured some of the most heartbreaking events that have shaped and continue to shape me into the person I am today. Through my traumatic experiences, I continued to put a smile on my face every day but was sinking deeper into depression. I needed to learn to cope. As teens, we all endure hardships. Some of the top social dilemmas teens struggle with daily are cyberbullying, eating disorders, suicide, drugs and alcohol, divorce, depression, anxiety and most recently COVID. Each traumatic event or life experience may need different coping techniques. This means that finding ways to manage or carry on may vary. These are just a couple of reasons that I am so passionate about my platform. As I continue to use what I have learned about coping strategies that work for me, I want to help others find strategies to cope to begin to heal. If given the privilege to be the next Miss River Days, I would make it my goal to continue to make a positive impact within the communities. I would promote my platform and continue the scholarship fund I have created, “The Scholarship for the Unshakable Student”, for a Scioto County High School 2022 graduate student. I would also travel to Ohio festivals informing what the Portsmouth River Days Festival represents and what amazing opportunities Portsmouth has to offer. It has been 40 years since Miss West has been crowned queen. I am working diligently to make a positive

impact on my community and to bring the crown back to West Portsmouth.

My name is Carly Stapleton and I am your Miss Wheelersburg 2021! I am 16 years old and a lifelong resident of the Burg. I am currently a member of the Lady Pirates Varsity Soccer team, Key Club, the Block, and Prom Committee. I am involved in my church youth group “The Uprising” and have previously been involved in high school cheerleading and student council, as well! In addition to this, I am a student at Shawnee State University where I am participating in the College Credit Plus program. After graduation, I plan to attend the University of Cincinnati and obtain a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology!

Achieving the title of Miss River Days 2021 would be incredible because I would be able to branch out beyond Scioto County and educate others on our festival, our town, and a platform extremely close to my heart. This year I chose the platform subject F.L.Y. (First Love Yourself): Soaring above Self-Doubt in an effort to educate the community on the importance of self-image, self-worth, and eating disorders. My community service event, Mind-Body Balance, was a yoga event in which we focused on the ever-important connection between mental and physical health. Thanks to everyone who participated, I was able to make a donation to Compass Community Health to allow others to receive the mental illness counseling and eating disorder treatment they need. In order to be the happiest and healthiest version of yourself, you must learn to F.L.Y.!

Rylee Johnson-Miss Valley
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/09/web1_Miss-Valley.jpegRylee Johnson-Miss Valley

Carly Stapleton-Miss Wheelersburg
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/09/web1_Miss-Wheelersburg.jpgCarly Stapleton-Miss Wheelersburg

Arianna Thomas-Miss Portsmouth
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/09/web1_Miss-Portsmouth-2.jpgArianna Thomas-Miss Portsmouth

Madison Russell-Miss West
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/09/web1_Miss-Portsmouth-West.jpgMadison Russell-Miss West

Staff report