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Rebecca England to represent at Alabama’s Junior Miss

On Sept. 26, Demopolis High School senior Rebecca England won the Marengo County’s Junior Miss program, earning the right to represent this area in the 2010 Alabama’s Junior Miss program.

Almost four months later, that time has come. For all of next week, England will compete against several other seniors for several scholarship awards and the chance to represent the state of Alabama at the America’s Junior Miss program in Mobile in June.

The Alabama’s Junior Miss program will take place on Jan. 15-16 at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, but most of the work will take place in the days before the final program.

“I’m leaving on Jan. 8 right after school and be gone for nine days,” England said. “From what I’ve heard, I’ll be working my rear end off! Throughout the week, we’ll be at our host families’ houses, and (pageant coordinators) will bring a bus around and take us to the church, teach us all the routines and drill us with questions. I’m excited about it!”

“They have a preliminary that Friday night,” said Katie Echols, the coordinator of this year’s Marengo County’s Junior Miss program and the 1996 Marengo County representative. “They have a second preliminary on Saturday afternoon, and then, they have the finals on Saturday night.

“They’ve got so many girls, they divide up the preliminaries. One day, you may do your physical fitness and self-expression and the next day, you may do your talent. The Friday night preliminary is at 7:30, the Saturday afternoon preliminary is at 1:00, and the finals on Saturday night begin at 7:00.”

England said the Marengo County’s Junior Miss program almost mirrors the state program, and that has helped her be better prepared for what awaits her in Montgomery.

“Actually, this year, the Marengo County fitness routine was a lot more intense (than the state’s program) to make us better prepared,” she said. “We’ve already learned our individual routines. I feel really prepared for it, thanks to Marengo.”

“We intentionally did that,” Echols said. “We tried to make it a little more difficult because we found that, on the local level, we weren’t preparing them as well as we could have, and once they got to the state level, it was a great leap for them to take on that challenge, especially in physical fitness.”

England said that although she hasn’t yet arrived in Montgomery, she has gotten a lot out of the Junior Miss program.

“I’ve already gotten a lot out of it!,” she said. “My mom has been helping me a lot, so I’ve gotten so much closer to her. I’ve met so many girls from other counties and even from this county, and I’ve gotten much more self-confidence from all of this.”

England said she will perform the same talent she did at the Marengo County program, singing “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from “The Sound of Music.”

“Ever since I was little, I was doing theater,” she said. “I was with the Canebrake in their children’s plays, and when I got to high school, I was actually able to do musicals. I love musical theater — I could probably do that for the rest of my life!”

England has spoken with last year’s Marengo County representative, Hillary Stapp, who is now a freshman at Southern Methodist University.

“I saw her right after the Marengo program, at the Homecoming game,” England said. “That’s when I first talked to her about it. I’ve been talking a lot to (2007 representative) Gracie Smith and (2008 representative) Catie Cole.”

Despite the preparation and support from past winners, England said she is still a bit overwhelmed about taking part in the Alabama’s Junior Miss program.

“At this point, I’m just thankful to be there!” she said. “All of the other girls who will be there are so beautiful and talented and sweet. We’ve already connected on Facebook. I’m just exited to spend a lot of time with them.”

“It’s a week-long fun, exciting, exhausting, nerve-wracking, stressful, life-changing experience!” Echols said. “She will stay with a host family while she is there, and they will take extremely good care of her.”

The Junior Miss program takes several facets of a high school senior’s character in judging an overall winner. There is an interview and discussion session with judges, a review of scholastic history, a talent competition, a fitness competition and a poise competition involving the ability to communicate well and carry oneself with confidence.

England said she has narrowed her choice of colleges to the University of South Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Alabama. She hopes to have a career in medicine, although she isn’t certain exactly what field of medicine she wants to take part in.

“I’ve applied to a lot of honors programs that focus on that, so I can get more experience, maybe shadowing doctors and see what I want to do,” she said.

The daughter of Charles and Elaine England of Demopolis, Rebecca England has served as the president of Key Club, vice president of Beta Club and president of DECA as well as being a member of the Science National Honor Society, Tigers Arts Guild, YOUth LEAD and the science/computing Olympiad team.

A truly well-rounded student, she will represent Marengo County well in this year’s Alabama’s Junior Miss program.