Being Miss Maumee Valley

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Pageant Press: Local Women Succeed in Scholarship Pageants

The following article is from Knapps News, an online news source serving my home area of Mercer and Auglaize counties.

Local Women Succeed in Scholarship Pageants

Abby Bollenbacher, Erica Gelhaus, Sarah Garman, Marisa Minor and Kyrsten Chambers are five local women with very different personal and educational goals; however, they’ve all selected the Miss America Scholarship program to help them achieve their dreams and serve their communities.

Abby Bollenbacher, a Rockford native, competed in the Miss Ohio Scholarship program, held in Mansfield July 5-8th 2006, for a fifth time. She received a $400 scholarship for being a Top 10 semifinalist; for her talent Bollenbacher sang “Funny Honey” from Chicago and advocates the Springboard! program for Higher Education Success as her social platform. Due to age restrictions, this was Bollenbacher’s final attempt at the Miss Ohio crown; in six years of competing she has earned nearly thirteen thousand dollars in scholarships to help pay for her recently received Communications degree, specializing in Theatre, from Bowling Green State University. Her final local title is Miss Maumee Valley 2005; her first was Miss Lake Festival 2001.

Monday night in Celina a brand new Miss Lake Festival was crowned. Recent St. Henry graduate Erica Gelhaus captured the title as well as Interview and Talent awards. Gelhaus earned over $4,000 in scholarships; she plans to attend Oberlin College to study Music. For the talent competition she performed the classical aria, "Saper Vorreste" from Verdi's The Masked Ball and she promotes Youth Literacy as her platform issue. Kaela Gardner of Rockford was First Runner-up, Brigette Hart of Coldwater was Second Runner-up and Heather Waterman of Celina was Third Runner-up. Gelhaus will compete in Miss Ohio 2007, being held next June.

Gelhaus was crowned by Miss Lake Festival 2005, Sarah Garman, who recently competed at Miss Ohio. Garman is a Fort Recovery native currently studying Nursing at Bowling Green State University. During the talent competition she sang "This Time Around" and for her platform she works with Camp BEAR-able, a grieving camp which helps children cope with the loss of a loved one. At Miss Ohio Garman won a $200 non-semifinalist scholarship and $300 Theresa Wagner Commitment to Excellence award. When Garman won the title Miss Lake Festival last summer she was crowned by friend, Marisa Minor.

After her reign as Miss Lake Festival 2004, Marisa Minor won the title Miss Northwestern Ohio 2005 (she was crowned by Abby Bollenbacher, who was also Miss Northwestern Ohio 2004). At her second attempt for the Miss Ohio crown, Minor was named a Top 10 semifinalist, receiving a $400 scholarship. She sang the Italian aria "Gira con Me" for talent and works with the Big Brothers/ Big Sisters organization for her platform. Minor’s community service through her platform was awarded at Miss Ohio both this year and last, as she received the Miss America State Community Service award of $1000. Minor is a Fort Recovery native currently studying Music and Communications at the University of Dayton. She hopes to try for the Miss Ohio crown a third time; this Saturday (July 29) she will compete for the local title Miss West Central Ohio. The pageant will be held at the St. Marys Theatre and Grand Opera house and broadcast live on WLIO Lima at 9 p.m.

Minor hopes to be crowned by Miss West Central Ohio 2005, Kyrsten Chambers, who also recently returned from Miss Ohio. Chambers is a native of St. Marys; she is studying Political Science at Miami University. For the talent competition she performed a Tahitian Dance to the song "Rutu Taki: Samba." At Miss Ohio Chambers was awarded a $200 non-semifinalist scholarship as well as being named the winner of the “Show me your Shoes” contest. This is a tradition Miss Ohio has adopted from famous Miss America parade; contestants decorate footwear to represent something about themselves and during the parade spectators yell out “Show me your Shoes.” Chambers’ shoe was a large papier-mâché fish, with hook in mouth, to represent being hooked on reading, as her platform is Youth Literacy.

It is indeed impressive that four of the twenty-four contestants in the recent Miss Ohio pageant hail from Mercer and Auglaize counties. At Miss Ohio the contestants are split into three flights; ironically, Bollenbacher, Garman, Minor and Chambers were together all week as members of the same flight. In addition to three nights of preliminary competition, they attended luncheons, Fourth of July festivities, were featured in a parade and had many hours of rehearsal. Dispelling the myth that pageant contestants don’t get dirty or sweaty, Chambers was a runner-up in a frog jumping contest at a festival, Garman and Minor participated in a raw egg toss and Bollenbacher was awarded a trophy for placing third in her age division at the Miss Ohio 5k!

Miss America is the world’s largest provider of scholarships exclusively to young women. At the local, state and national level contestants are judged on not only Evening Wear and Swimsuit, but also Talent, Onstage interview and a twelve-minute private interview, in which community service, current events and social issues are discussed.

To book any of the talented young women featured in this article for speaking or entertaining engagements see their local pageant directors’ contact information on the Miss Ohio website.


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