Pizza is the international food of fellowship.
As participants in the 2009 Whitehall Junior Miss Scholarship Program joined with their “Little Sisters” from the fifth grade in a night of pizza and fun, all were preparing for the 48th annual program, set for Saturday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m. in the Whitehall Junior/Senior High School auditorium.
“They have been very easy to work with,” said Eileen Rozell about the 17 senior girls who make up the participants. “The biggest thing right now is working on the dance and fitness routines for the big night.”
While 17 participants sounds like a big number, Rozell said there have been more.
“In 1978, that was a big class,” said Rozell. “That year we had something like 24 who participated in the program. Years ago, they had much bigger classes.”
Participants go through a six-week program. Each contestant will participate in five categories, including interview, scholarship, fitness, talent and poise. While the first two are done before the show, the fitness, talent and poise portions will be part of the Nov. 7 event.
Winners in each category receive scholarship awards, along with the overall Junior Miss and runners-up.
This year’s participants include seniors Andrea Aber, Lindsay Aubin, Victoria Diekel, Ciayera Greenough, Krisandrea Greenough, Jessica Hart, Taylor Huntington, Desirea Mc Kee, Maria McKee, Carly Nichols, Jennifer Phillips, Barbara Spoor, Brittany St. Clair, MacKenzie Trevellyan, Shae Varmette, Nea Wescott and Paige Wood.
“With this group, we have about 50 percent of the girls that have come out to be a part of Junior Miss,” said Rozell. “It’s nice because they all have different backgrounds and different interests. It’s a nice across-the-board variety with this group.”
The theme for the 2009 show will be based on the military.
“We started out with a Navy theme, but then expanded it to all branches of the military and veterans,” said Rozell. “It is a salute to them.”
“The Elks have all of the American flags that have been made with the different number of stars on them representing the states,” said Cheryl Putorti. “We will be using those for the backdrop on the stage.”
Rozell said she continues to return to the program as an adviser and leader each year to see the girls grow through the program.
“I love doing it,” she said. “You really do see growth in the kids and they get more self confidence and learn so much.”
Rozell added a final reason for her continuing service.
“I’m waiting to do 50 years with the program,” she said.
Rozell said the students are looking forward to Nov. 7 and they would be ready for the event.
“I hope that a lot of people will come out and cheer the girls on and support them,” said Rozell.
Admission to the program is $5 per person. Along with the show, there will also be a small basket party in the lobby, with sheets of 25 tickets costing $2 each. All proceeds go toward the Junior Miss Scholarship Program.