W.Va. pageant adds second title

February 23, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The 31st annual Miss Berkeley County Scholarship Pageant returns this weekend with a major change to the pageant's outcome.

This year, for the first time, two crowns will be given in one night to contestants from the Berkeley County area, and both crowned winners will move on to compete for the title of Miss West Virginia. The state pageant will be held in June in Morgantown, W.Va.

The new title, Miss North Eastern, was awarded to a Berkeley County woman last year, shortly after the 2005 pageant, says Shelley Nichols-Franklin, pageant executive director. The 2006 pageant will mark the first time the second title is part of the event.


The Miss America Organization "encourages us to give more than one title," Nichols-Franklin explains. "It gives more girls the opportunity to compete at the state level."

In order to be eligible to compete for the titles of Miss Berkeley County and Miss North Eastern, a contestant must be at least 17 years old and a high school senior and younger than 25 years old. In the past six months, they also must have lived, worked or attended school in Berkeley County or within a 50-mile radius of the county.

Both title winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship from the Miss Berkeley County Scholarship Organization and a $500 scholarship to Shepherd University. They each will receive a $250 clothing allowance to be used toward the outfits needed to compete for Miss West Virginia. New this year is a $150 memorial scholarship awarded to both winners.

Saturday's pageant at The Apollo Civic Theatre includes the lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit competition, artistic expression and talent competition, onstage interviews, and the poise and presence in evening wear competition. Personal interviews with judges will take place earlier in the day Saturday.

Nichols-Franklin encourages members of the community to attend the pageant to see that it's "not just a beauty pageant," she says. Competing for county and state titles helps develop poise and confidence while assisting girls academically with college scholarships, Nichols-Franklin says.

If you go ...

WHAT: Miss Berkeley County/Miss North Eastern pageant

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

WHERE: The Apollo Civic Theatre, 128 E. Martin St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

COST: Tickets are $10, general admission, and sold at the door.

DIRECTIONS: Take Interstate 81 south to Exit 13 (King Street) in West Virginia. Turn left onto King Street and go about one mile to Queen Street. (Look for the library on the right). Turn left onto Queen Street. Go two blocks to Martin Street and turn right. Go one block on Martin Street. The theater is on the right. Approximate driving time is 25 minutes from Hagerstown.

Meet the contestants who will compete for the titles Miss Berkeley County and Miss North Eastern:

Ashley Brooke Breeden, 18, of Summit Point, W.Va.

Parents: Blair and Ann Breeden

Education: Shepherd University student

Talent: Vocal

Platform: Suicide awareness and prevention

Kasha Michelle Brown, 19, of Fairmont, W.Va.

Parents: Milton and Lynn Brown

Education: Fairmont State University student

Talent: Vocal

Platform: Increasing participation in tutoring programs

Rachel Carr, 23, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Parents: Dan and Vicky Carr

Education: Georgia State University graduate

Talent: Dance

Platform: CPR awareness

Carly Decker, 17, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Parents: Kraig and Marie Decker

Education: Martinsburg High School student

Talent: dance

Platform: Preventing heart disease and diabetes

Melissa Lorraine Godwin, 19, of Summit Point, W.Va.

Parents: Chris and Sharon Godwin

Education: West Virginia University student

Talent: Dance

Platform: More involvement with Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Amber Hamilton, 19, of Inwood, W.Va.

Parents: Tony and Nancy Hamilton

Education: West Virginia University student

Talent: Vocal

Platform: Kids in community service

Amber Miller, 19, of Falling Waters, W.Va.

Parents: William and Angela Miller

Education: Shepherd University student

Talent: Dance

Platform: Promoting values for children

Jessica L. Morrison, 21, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Parents: Michael and Brenda Morrison

Education: West Virginia Wesleyan College student

Talent: dance

Platform: Giving hope to others through volunteering

Michelle Southard, 17, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Parents: Larry Southard and Lisa Pittsnook

Education: Martinsburg High School student

Talent: Dance

Platform: Bringing suicide awareness into schools

Jessica Allene Yurish, 19, of Martinsburg, W.Va.

Parents: Paul and June Yurish

Education: student at the Community and Technical College of Shepherd

Talent: dance

Platform: Getting involved when cancer strikes home

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