"Explore, Dream, Discover" might be the theme of this year's Miss Washington County/Miss Western Maryland Scholarship Pageant, but Executive Director Barbara Carson is hoping that is more of a mantra for the 11 Miss contestants.
"They get a crown, but it opens doors for them to make appearances in the community and do public service, and promote their platform and gain self-confidence," she said.
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The scholarship pageant will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Center. Tickets cost $20 for adults; $8 for ages 5 to 12 and are available at the door.
Special guests will be Miss Maryland 2012 Joanna Guy, who will co-emcee the event with Pieter Bickford.
The winner will be selected after completing five phases of competition — private interview the judges panel, onstage talent, physical fitness, event wear and onstage question. To be eligible for the competition, contestants must live, work or attend school full time in the state of Maryland, and be 17 to 24 years old.
Two titles will be presented, which Carson said it gives more opportunities for the ladies to win a title, and then be able to advance to the state competition, which eventually leads to Miss America.
Carson said two teens will be awarded the Miss Outstanding teen titles.
Scholarship money is the main reason why women participate in the competition. Carson estimates that over the last decade, about $90,000 in scholarship money has been distributed.
This year, the two Miss winners will receive $2,000 scholarship. The first runner-up will receive a $600 scholarship. And every Miss contestant will receive at least $100 in scholarship money.
If you go
WHAT: Miss Washington County and Miss Western Maryland Scholarship Pageant
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16
WHERE: Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Center, off Robinwood Drive, east of Hagerstown
COST: $20; $8 for ages 5 to 12 and are available at the door
MORE: For more information, go to WashCtyMdPageant.webs.com