MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio’s Junior Miss contestants and their host mothers were guests of Soroptimist International of Mount Vernon and Knox County for a Thursday luncheon at The Dan Emmett Conference Center.
The luncheon was the last of four formal events this week that were hosted by community groups. The young women will now focus even more closely on final preparations for their “big show” today and Saturday evenings at the Memorial Theater.
Tonight’s show begins at 8 and Saturday’s at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the downtown office of First-Knox National Bank and at the theater’s box office one hour before each show.
Lauren Gessner, the 2008 Ohio’s Junior Miss, was in attendance and looking well, despite a seven-hour wait in the Mobile, Ala., airport on her way back to Ohio. Gessner is attending the University of South Alabama on a full-ride scholarship, thanks to her OJM win.
Noting that this year’s class had bonded, was relaxed and having fun, and had many stories to tell, Gessner said, “There’s nothing like Junior Miss.”
Mary Jo Hawkins, president of Soroptimist, told the girls about the organization.
“Let me challenge every one of you,” she said. “There are Soroptimist organizations in your area, and it’s a wonderful organization to be part of.”
“This is a special luncheon because we get to have our host moms here,” said Cheri Butcher, OJM state chairwoman.
When Butcher mentioned this evening’s show, there were giggles and murmurs of nervous laughter from the contestants, who nonetheless forged ahead into introductions of their host mothers.
Kara Schoenhofer, Allen County’s Junior Miss, introduced Marilyn Bell, her host mother, and said, “I think it’s funny that we’re supposed to go to bed early every night ... but we end up sitting down and chatting with our host family and then it gets to be midnight. But we always get enough sleep. I think.”
Schoenhofer is staying with the Raymond and Marilyn Bell family.
Fatimah Green, Eastern Franklin County’s Junior Miss, is staying with Dave and Stefani Benson this week. She said she is a member of her high school drama club and hopes to attend Northwestern University. In answer to a question about her favorite way to spend an hour, she said, “I’d go to my room, turn on the music and dance.”
Lyndsie Rogers of Clermont County is staying with host parents Tara and Doug Clark. Asked about her favorite OJM activity, Rogers said, “Working on our opening number and the fun finale, because it gives us time to be ourselves and just have fun.”
Southern Lawrence County Junior Miss Nikki Lindsey, who is staying with Deb and Roy Strouse and who will attend Marshall University, was asked her advice for high school students.
“Live your high school years to the fullest because they go by fast,” she said.
Daralyn Baldogo, Junior Miss of Southern Franklin County, is staying with host parents Kim and Andrew Lenkei, and plans to study fashion merchandising at Kent State University. Asked about volunteer work, Baldogo told of collecting items for the Franklin County Dog Shelter and noted, “I love animals, and all the girls have heard me talk about my dog.”
Katie Yates of Northern Lucas County confided that her host dad, Jim Frazee, is “freaking out” about performing in Saturday evening’s traditional Do-Dad routine, and her host mom, Patti Frazee is enjoying teasing him about it.