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Golden voice leads Murray to crown

BREMERTON — Janna Murray brought a packed house to its feet Saturday night after a towering performance of “I am Changing” from the musical “Dreamgirls.”

A little later in the evening, she truly was changing — into the new Miss Poulsbo.

Murray of Poulsbo was chosen as the 51st woman to wear the Poulsbo crown at the Miss Poulsbo/Miss Kitsap Pageant March 26 at Bremerton High School. Six women were vying for the Poulsbo title and 14 competed for the Miss Kitsap crown in the Saturday evening event.

As her name was called as the new Miss Poulsbo, the typically forthright Murray seemed shocked and a bit sheepish as she stepped into the spotlight. As Miss Poulsbo 2004 Canon Henness placed the crown on the new titleholder’s head, Murray blew kisses to the audience and continually covered her heart and mouthed the words, “Thank you.” The 19-year-old said she didn’t think she’d be the one chosen for the honor.

“I was standing there when they called my name and I expected to be looking around but everyone was looking at me,” she said. “It was unbelievable.”

Changing was also a major theme of this year’s Miss Kitsap race as Diosa Werner of Olalla came away with the crown in her second attempt. Werner said both during the pageant and after that her previous run had prepared her to take the title this year. She felt she better understood the spirit of healthy competition and of sisterhood after experiencing it from behind the scenes.

“My last run, I needed to learn to focus on the more important things and not let the little things worry me,” she said.

But the ecstatic 19-year-old Werner said she, too, was shocked hearing her name called from the bank of talented women.

“I didn’t believe it was happening,” Werner commented. “I was just hoping that whoever won deserved it the most and would do a good job and represent Kitsap the best.”

Murray, the daughter of Kerry and Chuck Murray, is a freshman at Edmonds Community College studying communication, performing arts, Biblical studies and language studies. The new Miss Poulsbo chose, “Mentoring Their Passions” as her platform with a plan to promote the NK Success mentoring program at North Kitsap High School and the YMCA’s teen character development program.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, talking about my platform and just doing the best I can,” Murray said following the pageant of her plans for the next year. “I’m trying to think of what will be fun and a million things come to mind.”

Brenna Gardner-Brown, 17, of Poulsbo was chosen first runner up in the Miss Poulsbo competition. She is the daughter of Rebecca and Mathew Gardner-Brown.

Werner, the daughter of Prescila and Ron Werner, had previously run for the Miss Kitsap title two years ago and served as choreographer and performed a dance number at last year’s pageant before giving the competition another try. She becomes the 26th young woman to wear the Miss Kitsap crown but the third to receive the title under the Miss Poulsbo Organization. She is a junior at the University of Washington studying accounting and dance. Her platform is “Youth Awareness,” in which she plans to partner with Children of the Nations and Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.).

Sheila Spiker, 20, of Port Orchard was named first runner up in the Miss Kitsap contest. She is the daughter of Thin Spiker.

Emerald Mansfield, 20, of Bremerton was chosen second runner up. She is the daughter of Marina and Rodney Mansfield.

The two titleholders also each received $5,000 scholarships, second runner up to Miss Kitsap received $750 and the two first runners up received $1,000 a piece. All non-finalists were given $400. A total of $25,050 in scholarship money was distributed, including monetary awards for:

• Scholastic Achievement: Miss Kitsap contestant C’havala Jaramillo, 18, of Bremerton.

• Artistic Expression in Talent: Murray

• Community Achievement in Interview: Werner

• Living the Platform: Gardner-Brown

• Ruby Watland Community Service Leadership: Gardner-Brown and Spiker

• Most Improved: Miss Kitsap contestant Donna Owens, 18, of Bremerton.

• Golden Crown: Miss Poulsbo contestant Alison Amend, 18, of Poulsbo and Werner.

• Future Potential: Miss Kitsap contestant Alexis Bennett, 17, of Bremerton.

• Director’s Spotlight: Gardner-Brown and Miss Kitsap contestant Meghanne Davis, 22, of Port Orchard.

• Non-Finalist Talent: Owens

• Non-Finalist Interview: Miss Kitsap contestant Chelsea Marak, 17, of Seabeck.

• Miss Congeniality: Murray

• People’s Choice Talent: Werner

In addition, for the first time ever, three contestants received $1,000 scholarships from Olympic College. The award is the result of a new partnership between the Miss Poulsbo Organization and the college. Those recipients were, Owens, Davis and Miss Kitsap contestant Mallory Morrison, 19, of Bremerton.

Besides a chance at scholarship money, the Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap crowns are Miss America-affiliated roles. Both titleholders will represent their areas at the 2005 Miss Washington Pageant, the winner of which advances to the Miss America competition.

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