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Stapp readies for Junior Miss

It was two months ago that Demopolis High School senior Hillary Stapp won the 2009 Marengo County Junior Miss title, but the next step looms ahead, as the Alabama Junior Miss competition begins in less than three weeks.

Stapp won the Marengo County title on Oct. 25, adding her name to the list of 53 contestants who will take part in the statewide scholarship program. The contestants will vie for at least $53,600 in scholarship awards and a potential $2 million in college-granted scholarships.

The Alabama Junior Miss pageant will take place on Jan. 9-18 at the Frazier United Methodist Church in Montgomery.

The contestants will be judged on scholastics (20 percent of the overall score), interview (25 percent), talent (25 percent), fitness (15 percent) and self-expression (15 percent).

“There is a fitness portion, so I have to get in shape for that!” Stapp laughed. “It will be much more rigorous than it was at the local level. I’ll be practicing my talent, doing interview practices and things like that.”

Stapp will reprise her talent from the Marengo County pageant by playing “Old Time Rag” by Scott Joplin on the piano.

“It’s a fun piece, and I just love it,” she said.

Stapp said that last year’s Marengo County Junior Miss, Catie Cole, has helped her prepare for the state competition.

“She has given me the DVDs from last year, and I’m meeting with her, so she can kind of coach me through what I’m going to encounter,” Stapp said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking, but it’s fun!”

Stapp is looking beyond the competition and looking forward to all of the experiences that she will face in Montgomery.

“I’m going to have a good time, just to meet new girls and everything,” she said. “Of course, I would love to win something, but I’m just going to go and have fun.

“They have a winner for each category. They have the overall winner and the alternates, and they have scholarship money for that. There are also the overall winners, and they get scholarships, too.”

Stapp took part in her first pageant when she was in the second grade, the Christmas on the River and Little Miss DA (Demopolis Academy) pageants. She has taken part in several pageants since then. She was the first alternate at this year’s Miss Christmas on the River pageant on Oct. 4, and won Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen’s highest grade-point average in March.

Stapp said there is a lot to enjoy at the competitions.

“I like to get dressed up,” she said. “I did the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen in March, and it was so great to meet all the girls from around the state and make new friends. Some of them will actually be at the Alabama Junior Miss!”

Stapp, the daughter of Scott and Katrina Stapp of Demopolis, is the president of the Key Club, the Senior Beta Club, Student Council and DTD Club. She is the captain of the DHS cheerleading squad and a member of the DHS tennis team.

“I want to be a geneticist, and then do research,” she said of her future ambitions. “I think I want to go to SMU (Southern Methodist University) in Dallas — if I can get scholarship money! I like the fact that they are one of the top pre-med programs. Their recommendations are really good for graduate colleges.”