MOUNT VERNON — It was a red-carpet welcome Saturday for the 29 high school senior girls coming to Mount Vernon to participate in the Ohio Junior Miss Scholarship Program. After meeting at the Mount Vernon Nazarene University they were driven by motorcade to the front of the Memorial Building. There, red-coated Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, escorted them two at a time over the red carpet.
Families of the girls and the parents who will host them this week gathered in the ballroom for an introduction ceremony. Each was introduced from a balcony landing. When they came down to be seated they were handed a key to the city by Mayor Richard Mavis who then welcomed them to Mount Vernon.
Primary scholarship awards were announced by Jennifer Richards, OJM producer/director and talent coordinator.
The Stephen Zelkowitz Communication Award of $100 went to Yelena Arishina, Greater Knox County Junior Miss; three, $100 Service Above Self Awards were given to Erika Blake, Central Licking County, and Holly McKimmins, Northern Licking County, and a $300 Overall All Award went to Brandy Alexander, Dublin.
The three Be Your Best Self finalists are Daralyn Baldogo, Southern Franklin County, Katie Yates, Northern Lucas County, and McKimmins. The winner will be announced at Friday night’s program. The program was broadcast over WMVO radio, hosted by Marty Trese.
After settling in at their host parents’ homes, the girls returned to the Memorial Theater for practice on routines for opening and closing programs. Then enjoyed an Italian dinner the dining room.
After worship Sunday morning at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and a luncheon prepared by women of the church at the parish house, it was back to the theater.
The afternoon was dominated by a practice run through of each participant’s talent while production and stage crews checked and recorded lighting, sound and other technical details the make a polished program. Host families brought in a potluck dinner after the practice.
It was a memorable weekend for two of the participants. Saturday, Valentine’s Day was the 18th birthday of Kara Schoenhofer, Allen County’s Junior Miss from Lima. Sunday was the 18th birthday for Karissa Kincaid, Western Morrow County’s Junior Miss from Cardington.
The young women started rehearsal at 8 this morning. They will serve as guests for the Mount Vernon Kiwanis Club luncheon and an evening banquet hosted by the Mount Vernon Nazarene University in the President’s Dining Room.