And that’s the hope for the Miss Smithsburg Scholarship Organization when it hosts its second-ever competition on Saturday, March 23, at Smithsburg High School.
And to even sweeten the pot in its sophomore year, executive director Tina M. Stephens said this year there will be two titles handed out — Miss Smithsburg and Miss South Mountain, for both the Miss and Outstanding Teen titleholders.
But as of presstime Wednesday, Stephens still was unsure of the number of contestants she’ll have competing in her pageant. The reason, she said, is that her competition is one of the last in the season of local titles and depending how contestants did in Miss Frostburg this weekend, her numbers might have to adjust.
“We’re at 12 contestants,” she said. “If — cross my fingers — one of them wins at Miss Frostburg, we could go to 11. Or we could pick up three more up after Frostburg as well.”
But Stephens, who has been involved in similar programs for most of her life, knows this is part of a growing program.
“It’s a little nerveracking, but it’s par for the course,” she said. “But everything else is in place.”
Instead, she’s focused on the accomplishments the Miss Smithsburg program during its first year. And looking forward to new goals for the organization.
The biggest change has simply been extra hands.
“Last year I was the solo man,” she said. “This year, I have a board.”
Sitting on the Miss Smithsburg Scholarship Organization Board including herself are Stephens’ husband, Andrew Stephens, who is executive director of Miss South Mountain; her mother, Diana DiCenso, who is the judge’s chairwoman; Kara Dao, Donna Hobsin, sponsor relations; Kristie Flora, Wayne Ramius and Kimberly Havens, production team. And the reining titleholders, Miss Smithsburg Lindsay Carroll and Miss Smithsburg Outstanding Teen Brynn Dao.
Stephens said the program has also involved the community and had several partnerships with local organizations and has been able to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“We focused on building lasting relationships within the community and ensuring them that this organization is ready to serve,” she said.
Like all Miss America Organization programs such as Miss Smithsburg, the focus is to be able to award scholarship monies. Both the Miss titles will receive $1,000 each and each Outstanding Title will receive $500 each. Stephens said for the first runner-up for each title will receive $100. And a $250 Harry Herbst Sr. Quality of Life Award will be given, which Stephens describes as woman’s empowerment. A portion of Miss Smithsburg scholarship is given by the Michael C. Stephens Scholarship.
But first they must win the title. The competition for the Miss contestants will include a 10-minute interview with the judges prior to the evening competition. That evening they will be judged on their platform, swimsuit or lifestyle and fitness, talent, onstage presence in evening wear.
Because the Outstanding Teen program is still in its infancy, the teen contestants will be selected by the board. Stephens said she hopes to have an official competition next year. But the teens will be crowned during the pageant.
The Miss and Miss Outstanding Teen titleholders are all eligible to move to the Miss Maryland competition.
For Stephens, the last year has been a learning experience.
“I have seen much greater success over the course of this year with truly embracing other people into the organization that have the same drive and mission as I do,” she said. “There are other women out there like myself who believe in a cause like mine.”