Junior Miss off to Montgomery

Published 9:02 am Wednesday, January 5, 2011

She does not leave until Friday, but Annie Jones is already getting nervous. The Demopolis High School senior will head for Montgomery at week’s end to represent her home as Marengo County’s Junior Miss in the statewide competition. The scholarship contest comes a little more than three months after she earned the county crown against eight other local young ladies.

“I expected to be a lot more nervous than I was,” Jones said of the September competition. “It was a lot more fun than I expected.”

The win for Jones came a year after she got her first foray into the world of Junior Miss.

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“I was a little sister for Fallon Keen the year she did (the Junior Miss competition),” Jones said. “I’d always known I wanted to be in it, but seeing the behind the scenes made me want to do it even more.”

In addition to the individual aspects of the Junior Miss competition and the camaraderie most contestants develop with one another, Jones was drawn to the event for its scholarship opportunities. Improving those scholarship chances will will not come easily for Jones or any of the other girls in the statewide competition.

“The caliber of competition is definitely up,” Jones said. “There are 54 girls competing for one title instead of nine in the county. Instead of learning the material over a period of six to eight weeks, we’ll have to learn it in six days. And, of course, I won’t be staying in my own house. I’ll be staying with a host family in Montgomery.”

All those factors change the playing field for Jones and her fellow competitors. Beginning Friday evening, Jones will be a temporary resident of Steve and Angie Hecht’s household in Montgomery as she readies for the Jan. 14 and 15 contest at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church.

“I love them,” she said of the couple who will provide her a home for a week. “They are very personable. They are very welcoming.”

When she is not at the Hecht home, Jones will be working to prepare herself for a competition that involves four areas. Each girl will have an ungraded opening number before entering a self expression category in which she will be graded on balance, poise and grace. The fitness category will see contestants each go through individual and group fitness routines. Then there is the talent competition, the area Jones said makes her the most anxious.

“I like playing for families and small crowds,” Jones, who will be playing violin for her talent display, said. “And the song I’m playing, you have to be on your toes. It’s a medley from Fiddler on the Roof.”

While the talent aspect of the competition makes her the most nervous, Jones feels at ease with her abilities in the self expression area.

“I enjoy talking in front of crowds and it’s something I’m very confident in,” she said.

Jones and her fellow contestants will also be given a reprieve each evening when they will take part in a variety of recreational activities.

Jones indicated she will enjoy the competition regardless of the results. However, a win would be a nice boost in helping her toward her goal of studying internal medicine at the university of her choice.

“I went to Romania this past summer and did a medical mission trip and that only confirmed that I did want to do that with my life,” Jones, who is deciding between the Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama, said of her future.