The Miss Pierce County Scholarship Organization has a history of more than 40 years of giving scholarships to young women. Pierce County has had more women than any other Washington State local organization go on to become Miss Washington and represent our state at Miss America. The Teen Program in Pierce County is in its 6th year.
Michele Kronlund, associate teen director, explained what the Miss Pierce County Scholarship Organization is about, “[We] are a 501c3 leadership development and scholarship organization that is an official local franchise of the Miss America Scholarship Organization. As young women compete to represent Pierce County, they also prepare to do so as the title holder at the state competition for Miss Washington, and Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen, with the potential of moving on to the national level at Miss America, and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. They are competing for scholarships to further their education. Teen contestants are 13 to 17 years of age and not a senior in high school; Miss contestants are 17 to 24 years of age, seniors in high school and above. Many Miss contestants have graduated from college and are working on advanced degrees. [The program] is run by an all-volunteer board of directors.”
Michele, who has volunteered for the Miss Pierce County Program for three years, loves the program, “I am impressed with the work that the contestants put in. They work hard on their service platforms, their talent performances, answering interview questions, fitness, and stage presence. They are asking for coaching in all of these areas and more in order to grow themselves and earn scholarships.” The girls enjoy and seek out mentors to help them achieve their goals and personal growth. “Contestants go on to receive scholarships and career success, even if they never win a title, because of the skills they have learned in the Miss Pierce County Scholarship Organization. To quote Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, “Confidence is the best style.”, and confidence builds from participating in our program, and being coached by the MPCSO board. The service projects that they work on are not just a few volunteer hours. For example, this year’s Miss Pierce County, Haley Nicholson developed and co-wrote the curriculum she uses to teach about sex trafficking awareness.”
The Miss Pierce County Scholarship Organization is always looking for volunteers. “We look for accomplished people in a variety of fields, at all levels, to be practice interview judges. This is usually just a commitment of about two hours, on Sunday afternoons in January and February. We need 10-15 people at these sessions to ask questions of the contestants (in an interview setting) to help them prepare for the competition when they will be judged on their answers. A panel of people fire questions at each young woman – 6 minutes for the teens and 10 minutes for the Miss, and then the interviewers give feedback on how each contestant can improve. After our titleholders are chosen each year, we also have sessions, approximately two hours from March-May for our Teen titleholder and March-July for our Miss titleholder to prepare them for their respective state level competitions. These sessions are scheduled depending on volunteer and title holder availability.”
Other volunteers are needed to help chaperone title-holders at appearances, help to coach them in their talents, and many aspects of the competition itself on the production side and managing the event itself. The volunteer board operates year-round to raise scholarship dollars, promote the program to potential contestants, donors or sponsors, and to coach the girls. To find out more about volunteering, contact directors, Kenney Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org or Atiya Canley, Teen Director at email@example.com.
For more information, including requesting an appearance at an event, to become a sponsor, or donate towards scholarships, please visit: misspiercecounty.org. Michele concluded, “There is also a Little Princess Program, that is not a competition, but allows younger girls to receive mentoring from our Teen Contestants as well as have an on-stage opportunity at the Teen Pageant. It’s a great way to have fun, get started in service, and gain poise and confidence. As residents and businesses of Pierce County, we can all be proud of these young women.”
The Miss Pierce County’s Outstanding Teen Competition will be held at Curtis High School on February 22, at 11 am. On the same date at 7 pm, the competition will begin for Miss Pierce County 2014. For both events, tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased at: www.misspiercecounty.org
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com
Edited by Reba Winstead, editor for Tacoma.com