Being Miss Maumee Valley

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Pageant Press: Miss Ohio visits, greets new director; Marion helps Fontaine prepare for Miss America

The following article was published in the Marion Star December 15, 2004:

Miss Ohio visits, greets new director
Marion helps Fontaine prepare for Miss America

MARION — Miss Ohio Marlia Fontaine has one goal in mind. That is to represent the state at the Miss America pageant Jan. 21 in Las Vegas and return with the crown.

Fontaine was in Marion Wednesday at Kingston Residence where a panel of local folks with varied occupations coached and questioned her in the interview process as part of her final preparations. Those preparations came on the same day that the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program welcomed a new director, Carrie Hutchman of Marion [seen on the left].

Questions for Miss Ohio from the panel addressed such topics as the controversy over happy holidays versus Merry Christmas, teen pregnancy, the presence of troops in Iraq, human rights, Peace Corps, advocacy efforts for her platform of alleviating diabetes and her views on the Patriot Act.

Fontaine said she believes she has the qualities to be Miss America.

“Miss America needs to be a leader to find what society needs as a tool to promote change,” she said. “She needs to care more about her role as a leader and a role model than herself. One change she believes the program needs is a more positive image of the program to regain the support and love of the people of America to more positively identify with her (Miss America).

She believes Miss America should be more visible throughout her year, be on television, the news, talk shows and prime time television maybe even soap operas, she said.

“She (Miss America) should be in the public the whole year so people can get to know who she is versus what she is. She needs to be part traditionalist and part visionary. I am that woman.”

Fontaine’s interest in diabetes first peaked when her father was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and then an uncle died a year later from complications of diabetes.

“It took his death to make our family realize how dangerous diabetes is and if not treated properly can lead to serious complications.” she said.

Ohio, she noted, has no statewide diabetes legislation. For 12 years the American Diabetes Association had tried to get a bill heard in the house and senate. They were successful this past year for the first time.

“I was the first person to provide testimony at the hearing,” she said. “It was their first time to get far enough to get a hearing.”

Other benefits for Fontaine has been to earn or win scholarship money for her college education. She said she promotes the Miss America program because it is one of more than 1,000 pageant programs and the only one she could find where participants didn’t have to pay to compete.

“I found this opportunity and I come away with financial aid to pay for college,” she said. “My dad made too much money for me to get financial aid, yet not enough to pay for college. I had to find ways to finance my college to accomplish my goals.”

When the interview was completed, Fontaine accepted advice from the six members of the panel. The most common comment was to slow down when talking and less use of the hands.

“You have great poise, confidence, knowledge and voice inflection,” Marion City Schools Superintendent Bill Zwick said.

“I look for you to make the Top Ten, perhaps the Top Five and Miss America,” added Ruby Jackson, a retired school teacher.

Fontaine will put Marion in the spotlight in one portion of her Miss America appearance. The gown she will wear for her entrance dress on the televised show Jan. 21 is a gift from Hearts Entwined located here. She will also return to Marion 7 p.m. on Jan. 6 for the Snowball event at Kingston when she will model her outfits for the competition and perform her talent, said Pat Anthony, first vice president of the Board of Directors of the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program.

“This will be a corporate send-off. We’ve been lax in thanking our corporate sponsors. We feel we have a winner here.”


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