Twenty-one young ladies age 9 through 17 took part in the first Miss Optimistic Talladega Pageant June 19, which offered mentoring and skill building in public speaking, thinking skills and communication and presenting themselves in public.
“We felt this was a major milestone for the club and felt it was a great positive experience for the young ladies,” said Optimist Club member Beverly Williams. “It took the combined efforts of our club members, people within the community who volunteered to help and the young ladies themselves.”
The club developed the idea to host the program to encourage young ladies in the community who had never thought about taking part in a pageant to do so, Williams said.
The club incorporated a public speaking element into the program, by having participants choose part of the Optimist Creed to comment on while on stage.
The club is especially grateful to those who sponsored the program, 15 businesses advertised in the program for the event and others made contributions of cash, services and materials support, Williams said.
For the participants’ dance routine, dance teacher Angel Guice provided instruction for that as well as coaching the girls on movement, and Mary Kay representatives Rhonda Wodgett and Edith Kelly made up the participants before the program.
“And not only did Tom Wofford and Gail Montgomery from The Ritz Theatre make the facility available, they also coached our participants on stage presence,” Williams said.
Chamber Ambassadors from the Greater Talladega Area Chamber of Commerce served as ushers and helped behind the scenes for the program.
“These contributions let the club keep entry fees low as well as ticket prices,” Williams said.
There were three age categories in the event, one for ages nine through 11, one for ages 12 through 14 and one for ages 15 through 17.
Winners in the Miss Pre-Teen Optimistic category were Kaya Cook, Miss Pre-Teen Optimistic; Destiny Green, first runner up; Tajma Stamps, second runner up; and Destiny Green, Miss Photogenic.
Winners in the Miss Teen Optimistic category were Aniah Bonner, Miss Teen Optimistic; first runner up, Audrey Jemison; second runner up, Jesica McKenzie; and Miss Photogenic, Telia Stockdale.
Winners in the Miss optimistic category were Angela Hernandez, Miss Optimistic; first runner up, Adrienne Davis; second runner up QuaChina Carmichael; and Miss Photogenic, Adrienne Davis.