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Women, teens compete in returning Miss Carroll pageant

Teens and women will compete in the Miss Carroll County Pageant held Saturday at McDaniel College for the first time in more than 15 years.

For the first time in more than 15 years, teens and women from across the area will take the stage to compete in the Miss Carroll County Pageant.

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During Saturday's pageant at McDaniel College, 12 women will compete for three titles — Miss Carroll County, Miss Patapsco and Miss Mason-Dixon — while seven teens will compete for Miss Carroll County's Outstanding Teen in each of the three divisions.

The pageant is being presented by Mae Alexander, of Westminster, a former pageant contestant who said she wanted to bring back a regional Miss Maryland qualifier. Last year, she reached out to the Miss America organization in an effort to relaunch the Carroll County competition. In February, following an application process and interview, the pageant was approved.

She said the pageant system can be hugely important to a young woman.

"I didn't win my first pageant I competed in. I didn't even win my second. It took me until my fifth event before I won one," Alexander said. "Every time I competed, I learned something new about the system, but more importantly, I learned something new about myself."

Alexander credited her experience in pageants and work in interview segments with developing her public speaking and leadership skills. She said she wanted to pass these talents and skills on to a new generation of pageant contestants.

Paige Hackett, a 13-year-old contestant from Westminster, said she's entering the competition primarily to improve her public speaking skills and work on her confidence.

"This is something that's completely new for me," Hackett said. "I had friends who had participated in pageants before, and they said it taught them a number of things you don't get just going to school."

The winner of the pageant will engage in volunteering efforts throughout the community over the next year, as well as attending community events like the Flower and Jazz Festival, Fallfest and the Westminster Sunday Concert Series. Alexander said it was important to select someone who represents the best aspects of the community.

"When I was a title holder, I had to do 200 hours of community service," Alexander said. "The community really benefits from having a title holder in the area. We've already committed Miss Carroll County to volunteering with the Rape Crisis Center's Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. The title holders haven't even been chosen, but they're already set up to volunteer."

In order to participate in the pageant, each contestant has to select a platform of issues to focus on. Contestant platforms include a focus on teen suicide, bullying, muscular dystrophy and the importance of art in education.

Kaelly Miller, a 19-year-old contestant from Westminster, said she was excited to participate in this pageant to further her cause of concussion awareness and prevention. Miller, who has participated in several other pageants in the past, said she was thrilled when she heard she could compete for a hometown organization.

"I always learn something new about myself in every competition," Miller said. "It's a way to enhance some of my skills, gain confidence and, more importantly, make new friends."

Alexander said running the program has essentially become a one-woman show, with herself solely responsible for coordinating the performances, judges and contestants in advance of the Saturday debut. She said the pageant is a great way to introduce additional public service to the community.

"Children are going to look up to you, so we want a good role model," Alexander said. "We want someone who is dedicated to serving the community 365 days a year."

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Each of the winners of the competition will receive a $200 scholarship from the Miss Carroll County Program as well as a $500 scholarship for entering the Miss Maryland competition, while the teen winners will receive a $100 scholarship.

The women participating in the event are judged against themselves on a 10-point scale in each of the four weighted categories: talent, interview, health and fitness, and evening gown competition. Alexander said each of these categories measure a component of a holistic woman.

"With fitness, it's all about promoting a healthy lifestyle. We're not looking for a size 0 or a size 2, we're looking for someone who is active," Alexander said. "Talent is a great way to work on your confidence and bring a sense of pride and joy, while the evening gown is all about being poised and graceful. It's about being able to project yourself without even speaking."

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If You Go

What: Miss Carroll County Pageant

When: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 4

Where: Alumni Hall, McDaniel College, 2 College Hill, Westminster

Cost: $15 general admission, $5 with CCPS or McDaniel ID and children younger than 10.

Contestants

Taylor Lokey

20, University of Maryland College Park

Talent: Baton Twirling "Devil went Down to Georgia"

Platform: Lend a Hand, Heal a Heart: Advocating for Survivors of Sexual Violence

Kaelly Miller

19, Springfield College

Talent: Acrobatic Dance "Bewitched"

Platform: "Heads Up" Concussion Awareness and Prevention

Jennifer Panek

21, McDaniel College

Talent: Monologue "The Monster Inside"

Platform: Depression

Emily Hogan

22, Salisbury University

Talent: Baton Twirling "Amazing Grace"

Platform: Muscular Dystrophy Association "Make A Muscle" Send a Kid to Camp!

Kelly Milliken

23, Frederick Community College

Talent: Vocal "Dreams to Dream/Somewhere Over the Rainbow"

Platform: Be You: The Importance of Believing in Yourself

Julia Steinly

21, University of Maryland College Park

Talent: Tap Dance "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"

Platform: Celebrating Health and Fitness in our Youth

Amy Jennings

18, Barbara Ingram School for the Arts

Talent: Jazz Dance "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody"

Platform: The Value of Incorporating Art in Education

Allison Redman

20, Towson University

Talent: Vocal "Lay Me Down"

Platform: Save the Music

Taylor Steed

21, Towson University

Talent: Baton Twirling "Bom Bom"

Platform: Conquering Childhood Cancer

Morgan Lash

21, University of Maryland

Talent: Vocal "I Dreamed a Dream"

Platform: "Put a Smile On" The Ronald McDonald House

Brittany Brown

17, George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology

Talent: Contemporary Dance "I Will Always Love You"

Platform: Creativity is Connecting — Support of the Arts

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Paige Dutrow

20, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Talent: Baton Twirling "Requiem for a Tower"

Platform: Funding Hope — Cancer organizations

Teen Contestants:

Leah Ellis

Talent: Vocal "House of the Rising Sun"

Platform: Sticks and Stones — An Anti-Bullying Campaign for All Ages

Jillian Johnson

Talent: Lyrical Dance

Platform: The Empty Chair in the Classroom — Stop Teen Suicide Due to Bullying

Lily Bourgstein

Talent: Pop Vocal "Taylor the Latte Boy"

Platform: Encouraging Childhood Literacy

Courtney Bockstanz

Talent: Dance "Circus"

Platform: Youth Suicide

Katie Allen

Talent: Jazz Dance "Yankee Doodle Dandy"

Platform: Operation K.I.M. "Kids in Motion"

Aryana Briner

Talent: Vocal "Buenos Aires"

Platform: Compassion for the Homeless

Paige Hackett

Talent: Vocal "Born to Entertain"

Platform: Feeding the Hungry

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