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Hamilton takes Junior Miss title

Elizabeth Hamilton danced away with the title of Marengo County Junior Miss 2005 in competition held in the Old School Theater Saturday.

By becoming Junior Miss for the county and taking first place in three areas of judging, Hamilton earned $3,000 in scholarships.

First alternate is Emily Harris, who took second place in the Self-Expression and Talent divisions, for a total of $1,500 in scholarships. Lauren Yelverton, named second alternate, won the Scholastic category and was alternate in the Fitness division, for a total of $1,250.

The eight girls entered in the local scholarship program selected Lashondra Tate as the Spirit of Junior Miss. For the honor she earned $200.

Earlier in the day the five judges held a 10-minute interview with each young woman to determine their perception, sense of values, clarity of expression, concert and ability in human relations. The interview and the scholastic division, based on grades and standardized test scores, made up 45 percent of each contestant’s total score.

Hamilton garnered the most applause of the evening with her energetic jazz dance routine to “Baby That’s Rock and Roll,” from the Broadway show “Smoky Joe’s Caf/.” Harris sang “I Cain’t Say No” from the musical “Oklahoma.”

The daughter of Keith and Bambi Hamilton, she is a senior at Demopolis High School.

All the young women performed a fitness routine choreographed by 1998 Marengo County Junior Miss Margie Walker. Walker and 2004 Creative and Performing Arts winner Emily Worthy also sang for the audience.

Serving as mistresses of ceremony for the event were Emily Randall King, Junior Miss of 1995, and Erin Caldwell, Junior Miss of 2001. Ashlei Weiss, Junior Miss of 1999, announced the winners in each category and the names of the 2005 Junior Miss and alternates.

Each of the winners was congratulated by previous Junior Misses, including Eleanor Brooker Park, 1964; Mary Gayle Armistead Davidson, 1970; Betsy Rish Evans, 1983, and Lindsy Gardner, 1992.

Junior Miss for 2004, Kelly Keasler, prepared a video presentation as her farewell. Recent foot surgery confined her to a wheelchair during the competition.

Each contestant had a Little Sister to offer support and aid during the six weeks of rehearsals and the competition itself. The Little Sisters presented their own dance number, prepared by Dana Hill, to “Little Old Lady from Pasadena” and delighted the crowd when each one threw out a colorful beach ball.

Little Sisters were Chelsea Lavender, Cassandra Todd, Laura Beth Young, Nicki Nixon, Molly Barnes, Danley Glass, Haley Guntery and Elizabeth Carlton.

Judges for the competition were Faye Bedwell of Meridian, Miss.; Kimberly Brashears, Montgomery; April Jones, Prattville; Carl Sudduth, Livingston, and LaJessie Wilson, Montgomery.

The Marengo County Junior Miss program in the past has been held in November. Donna Bishop, county program coordinator, said the event was moved to allow the winner to have a longer time to prepare for state competition next January in Montgomery. The state winner goes on to national competition in Mobile.

Each year the Junior Miss program awards some $65 million in scholarships at the local, state and national level. The program is for high school senior girls to recognize and reward excellence in education.

Assisting with the production Saturday were Kelley Smith, state manager; Betsy Coplin and Mary Rutledge, judges chairpersons; Kirk Brooker, set; Elizabeth Etheridge, Little Sisters, and computer results, Allen Bishop.