Being Miss Maumee Valley

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pageant Press: Miss SEO is Crowned

Miss SEO is crowned

ZANESVILLE - With a musical crescendo and an enormous roar from the audience, Jenna Wilson of Zanesville was crowned Miss Southeastern Ohio Saturday night.

[Above: Jenna Wilson of Zanesville is presented as Miss Southeastern Ohio by Miss America 2000 Heather French Henry, right, at Secrest Auditorium in Zanesville Saturday. Photo by TREVOR JONES]

"I'm overwhelmingly excited. This is an amazing program," Wilson said. "There are so many friendships formed with these girls that the people in the audience don't see backstage."

Wilson also won an array of other prizes, for community service, her private interview with the judges, and, in her group of contestants, she won for best casual wear, evening wear and swimsuit. During the interview portion, which Wilson considered her strength, she spoke about "The March of Dimes: Saving Babies Together." Wilson will represent Zanesville and Southeastern Ohio at the Miss Ohio competition this summer. She thanked Andy and Vicki LeVeck, who produced the show, and her hostess for the evening, Keely Warden.

More than 1,500 people packed into the auditorium to applaud their favorite contestants. The 20 young women modeled casual wear, evening wear and swimsuits, performed in a talent competition and answered a question about their platform during an onstage interview.

The contestants performed a wide range of talents. Many sang Broadway hits, while others danced or gave recitations.

The talent competition went "so smoothly," said Megan Earley of Coshocton, who performed a jazz number.

"Nobody had any breakdowns," she said. "The audience was great, cheering us on."

The only blip during a performance happened when Karissa Martin of Woodsfield took the stage to perform "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story. Her microphone cut in and out during her performance, so Martin chose to perform the song again with another microphone. The second performance went off without a glitch.

Mary Ann Boyd Bucci, who was the first woman to be crowned Miss SEO in 1962, was impressed with the diversity of the contestants' talents. [On the left, Jenna and Mary Ann pose at the after party. Photography by Dan Olsen/Studio Z]

"I love to see girls that aren't afraid to speak out on what they really believe," she said.

For the contestants, the most stressful part of the competition was the interview process. The young women were interviewed by hosts Heather French Henry, Miss America 2000, and Johnny Parazzo. Each contestant was asked a question about her chosen platform.

For Giana Holstein of New Lexington, her chosen issue is "Power of the Arts - Empowering the Mind." By studying the arts, Holstein said, people learn to open their minds.

Samantha Maxwell of McConnellsville, who was the first runner-up, spoke about "Supporting the Arts." She has given beginning voice lessons to younger grade school students.

"I thought it was a great way to share a love of music with these kids that I have in my life," she said.

Originally published January 8, 2006


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