Upcoming pageants open to contestants

Submitted photo courtesy of Tonya Cool Winans Toriane Graal is Miss Elkins Area 2017 and Katie Bocchetti is Miss Elkins Area’s Outstanding Teen 2017.

ELKINS — The 2018 Miss Elkins Area and Miss Elkins Area’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place Nov. 10-11 at the Gandy Dancer Theater in Elkins.

A short rehearsal is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 10. Private interviews will begin at 9 a.m. and the on-stage competition will be at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 .

To compete in the Teen age group, young ladies must be between the ages of 13 and 17, but not a high school senior. Miss contestants must be between the ages of 17 and 24. Both age groups compete in private and on-stage interviews, physical fitness, evening wear and a 90-second talent presentation.

After the competition, the young ladies who are the most consistent in all categories will be crowned as the Elkins representative to the Miss West Virginia and Miss West Virginia’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Morgantown in June 2018. The local competitions are official preliminaries to the nationally televised Miss America Pageant and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.

The Miss America program is known as the largest scholarship provider for women in the world. The program looks for young ladies who are well-rounded, goal oriented, talented and have a commitment to community service.

Contestants must believe in the Miss America motto and four points of the crown: “Style, Success, Scholarship and Service.” Participants gain experience in sharpening interview skills, public speaking, resume building, improving their writing skills, showcasing their talent and making an impact in their community by being committed to their community service platform. Platforms range anywhere from anti-bullying campaigns to advocating for humane shelters.

Contestants must have a passion for their platform and work to improve their community through service. All contestants also advocate for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the nation.

In addition to the community service requirement, the talent portion varies greatly in the Miss America program. Some of the more popular talents are dance, dramatic monologues, singing, piano and other instruments, gymnastics and, in some cases, giving demonstrations on cooking, sewing or painting. The talent must showcase the contestant’s unique personality.

In addition to the $200 scholarship for the Miss winner and $100 for the Teen winner, other awards for the local competition will include the official Miss America crown and sash, flowers, a $250 gift certificate to the Queen’s Choice shop in Morgantown and Country Charm Photography, a photo session with local photographer Tonya Cool Winans and other prizes.

Leslie Stasny, the local assistant director, explained that the local pageant is run by community volunteers, as no one is compensated financially for their work. She and other committee members believe in the program, and they work tirelessly to support the winners of the local competition and help them prepare for the state level competition. They provide guidance in improving interview skills, gown selection and offer advice on makeup and hair care, as well as improving their talents.

“We would love to have local representatives from the area go on to compete in Miss West Virginia. They just have to enter the local competition. They will represent the Elkins Area in guest appearances and parades and visit area schools for school presentation,” Stasny said.

For more information, potential contestants can contact Stasny at leslie.stasny@gmail.com or stpta53@frontier.com to receive guidance on completing the contract, platform and resume.