England earns scholastic honor at AJM

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rebecca England represented Marengo County at the Alabama’s Junior Miss program on Jan. 16, and came back with what could be called the top prize in the scholarship program, receiving the overall scholastics award.

The goal may be to be named Alabama’s Junior Miss and compete on the national level in Mobile this June, but the purpose of the Junior Miss program is to provide scholarship money to senior girls at the local, state and national levels.

“If I had to pick one award to win, it would definitely have been scholastics,” said England, a senior at Demopolis High School. “The people I’ve seen at school are telling me, ‘Wow! We’re so proud of you to get scholastics out of all of them!’ All of these girls were the smartest in their class, so this was a real honor.”

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At the Alabama’s Junior Miss program in Montgomery, 48 girls from across the state competed in different competitions, including scholarship, fitness, poise, talent and self-expression. The finals took place on Jan. 15 and 16.

“There were four preliminaries, and on the finals night, Saturday, they announced the overall winners,” England said in an interview this week. “You should have seen my face when they called out my name!

“It really meant a lot, and it really says a lot about Demopolis City Schools and everyone who has been a big influence in my life. I definitely would not have been up there if it weren’t for any of them.”

In scholastics, the judges consider the standardized test scores, including the ACT and SAT.

“As far as that goes, a lot of us were pretty much at the same level,” England said. “What helped me was my AP (Advanced Preparation) classes and my GPA (grade-point average).”

“She also had her dual enrollment classes,” said her father, Dan England, referring to classes taken at the Demopolis Higher Education Center.

Despite having an ACT score of 32 out of a possible 36 and a grade-point average of 4.39 on a 4.0-scale, England still found the competition tough in the scholastics area, but was able to come out on top.

The week before the finals, the contestants were brought to Montgomery, where they stayed with volunteer host families as they prepared for the finals.

“I had a really great host family,” England said. “While I was there, I was homesick for my Demopolis family, but now that I’m back, I kind of miss my Montgomery family! They made the transition really smooth.”

England enjoyed the week in Montgomery, making friends with the other contestants and getting a taste of living away from home, something she will experience again in the fall when she begins college.

“I really did feel proud of myself, just to be there with those amazing girls,” she said. “They are so different, but we all had this one thing in common.”

England has her college choices narrowed to the University of Alabama and the University of South Alabama, hoping to go into medicine as a career. On Feb. 15, she will apply to the USA Early Acceptance Program for medical school. If she is accepted, she will have a spot reserved for her in the university’s medical school.

The $4,000 she received for earning the overall scholastics award on top of the $4,800 she earned at the Marengo County’s Junior Miss program last fall will be a big step in starting her collegiate career.

The Junior Miss program is not a beauty pageant. The high school seniors vie for scholarship money in many different categories.

To bring home the top overall scholastics award in such a competition says a lot about its winner and the schools she went to.

Rebecca England represented Marengo County well and moved to the head of the class in the state of Alabama.