Three Senior Misses Storm Junior Miss
By Ryan Migita
Two seniors became finalists in the Hawaii Junior Miss Scholarship Program, and took top top honors in the academic and fitness categories at the pageant on Jan. 29 and 30.
After three months of training and preparation, Alyssa Ellis (‘00), Camilla Lau (‘00), and Tina Tsunoda (‘00) danced and played their way into the judges’ score books. Tsunoda won the fitness category for her dance routine, Lau placed first in the academic achievement category while Ellis took third in that category.
"Although this program began as a competition for the scholarships, but by the end, it turned into more of a performance," said Tsunoda.
After the scholastic, interview, creative arts, presence and composure, and fitness categories were complete, Ellis’ ballet and Lau’s piano performances qualified them for the final round along with only six other contestants. They all had the chance to go on to compete in the national competition and a $3500 scholarship among other prizes which Sandra Kim, a McKinley High School senior, won in the end.
The awards included $100 savings bonds for the fitness category winner, $500 for scholastic achievement awards, and $1000 for the top scholar award, which Lau won.
Entrance into this prestigious scholarship program began in early October with an application with such questions as: "What is the most pressing problem facing young people today?" or "What are your suggestions to improve the education system?"
Through January, these three contestants faced training sessions for composure, make-up, choreography and the interview. "Mr. Dan Feldhaus, Mr. Frank Briguglio, Mr. Matthew Suzuki, and Ms. Cyrenne Okimura were extremely helpful in preparing us for the questioning," said Lau. As the program approached, their practices began to include five-hour rehearsals up to the day of the actual pageant.
"Despite the time and energy it took, entering Junior Miss was extremely worthwhile," said Tsunoda. "I got to meet new people and try new experiences."
The actual judging of the individuals was based on "scholastic achievement, presence and composure, physical well-being, presentation of a creative and/or performing art, clarity of expression, a sense of values and ability in human relations as reflected in a personal interview," according to Hawaii Junior Miss guidelines. Personal qualities were judged based on a 10-minute interview, two speeches and an essay describing how the contestants could be their "best self."
Iolani School, according to Ellis, "has prepared its students well for this competition," and she encourages anyone eligible to compete. Past Iolani Junior Misses include this year’s Miss Oahu, Ms. Liane Mark and Ms. Dori Takata; a former teacher at Iolani.
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