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Tea time in Poulsbo
Miss Kitsap, Miss Poulsbo contestants meet and mentor.
POULSBO — It was a sea of glitter and glamour Sunday at Poulsbo’s Sons of Norway lodge, where contestants in the Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap competitions hosted a tea party for 14 of their “little sisters.”
Since its 2000 beginning, 123 third-graders have participated in the Little Sister Program, teaming with older running mates to learn a performance dance and tricks of the pageant scholarship trade. Sunday’s tea marked the first group of “little sisters” now eligible to run as “big sisters.”
“I remember the rehearsals,” said 17-year-old Trillium School senior Myriah Riedel, “and playing with the ribbon and being totally distracted with shiny things. I remember it was a lot of fun.” One in the batch of inaugural little sisters, Riedel is now competing for Miss Poulsbo. It’s something she decided to do for the fun of it, and that’s what she’s hoping to pass on to her little sister.
Riedel is aiming to study performance and musical theater at Central Washington University. Someday, she said, she hopes to grace the Great White Way.
Fellow contender Taylor Wall wants to become a second-grade teacher, fitting her in well among Sunday’s many third-grade attendees.
Wall, a 17-year-old Kingston High senior, says running in scholarship pageants is in her blood. She’s a former Miss Kingston, as is her mother.
“It’s just a way for me to give back to the community,” she said. And being a mentor is an equal opportunity, a way to give advice and build a relationship.
“You can instill the values and the belief system that you have in (a little sister),” she said.
Michele Wasson, executive director of the Miss Poulsbo/Miss Kitsap Scholarship Organization, said this year the Miss Poulsbo and Miss Kitsap contests will be Jan. 10, three months earlier than their normal setting. The switch is meant to give winners more time to prepare for the Miss Washington contest slated during the summer.
For current titleholders Miss Poulsbo Amy Stadshaug and Miss Kitsap Samatha Przybylek, “they’re cramming a whole year’s worth of events in their nine months,” Wasson said.
Wasson, who calls the inaugural three her “founding fathers,” said Erika Scott is her “George Washington.” Scott’s big sister took the Miss Poulsbo crown; now the 18-year-old North Kitsap senior is making a bid for the same honor.
“Each year my excitement has grown” in anticipation, she said.
Nine-year-old Vinland Elementary student Makaila DuMars was a bundle of excitement, examining a name tag doll made by her big sister and chatting with Miss Washington Janet Harding.
“She’s not very girlie, but she’s really excited about this,” said mom Lynn DuMars. She said the chance is one not many young girls are given. On her own daughter, she added her burgeoning girliness was a pleasant side effect. “Apparently, it was just hidden potential.”