Nine-year-old Nyani Hawkins is a state finalist in the National American Miss Maryland Pageant. (April 15, 2013)

Nyani Hawkins, 9, a Riverside Elementary School student, has been chosen as a state finalist in the National American Miss Maryland Pageant to be held Aug. 8 to 10 at the Hyatt Regency Reston in Reston, Va. The National American Miss pageants are held for girls ages 4 to 18 and have five age divisions. Nyani will be participating in the Jr. Pre-Teen age division, along with other young ladies from across Maryland.

The winner of the pageant will receive a $1,000 cash award, the official crown and banner, a bouquet of roses and air transportation to compete in the national pageant in California, where she will receive an exciting complimentary tour of Hollywood and two VIP tickets to Disneyland.

The National American Miss Pageants are dedicated to celebrating America's future leaders and equipping them with life-long skills. Each year the pageant nationally awards more than $1.5 million in cash, scholarships and other prizes, which includes a new Ford Mustang Convertible.

The National American Miss Pageants are unlike any other. All activities and competitions are age appropriate. Girls under the age of 12 are not allowed to wear make-up and there is no swimsuit competition. The pageant program is based on inner beauty, as well as poise presentation and offers an "All-American spirit of fun for family and friends." Emphasis is put on the importance of developing self confidence, learning good sportsmanship, as well as setting and achieving personal goals. The pageant recognizes the accomplishments of each girl while encouraging her to set goals for her future.


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Families interested in learning more about this unique and outstanding youth program may visit http://www.namiss.com.

Nyani's activities include reading, ballet, soccer, softball and playing her flute in the Riverside Elementary School band. She also enjoys modeling, singing and spending time with her family and friends.