WHITMAN — In its first year, the Miss Whitman Scholarship Organization hosted and crowned the new Miss Whitman Sunday evening.
Renee Banks, 22, of West Bridgewater was crowned and titled Miss Whitman along with Chelsea Vuong who took first place and titled as Miss Tri-Town. Vuong, 22, is a Harvard University student.
Christine Morse of Whitman is the Executive Director of Miss Whitman Scholarship Organization, Inc. With her preliminary pageant skills to lean on, she decided to assist other girls in raising scholarship money through the Miss Whitman Scholarship Organization.
“I used to participate in the local preliminary pageants when I was 17 and 18 when I lived in California,” said Morse who has resided in Whitman for almost 15 years. “I was involved in the Miss Boston Scholarship Organization for 11 years with a short break in between,” she said.
“I believe in this organization and being able to give the opportunity for young women to learn wonderful life skills, from interviewing to public speaking, and stage presence. This is the reason I wanted to start my own local,” she said.
Our program is considered a local preliminary to Miss Massachusetts, which is state preliminary to Miss America. All of the candidates raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to participate at each level. To participate in the local, the amount to raise for each contestant is $100, with all judges, board members, and volunteers for the day of the competition as unpaid volunteers. We provide scholarships to the candidates for their education. All money raised goes towards scholarships and small operating costs with accordance to the Miss America guidelines, according to Morse.
Considering her first year she had slightly higher operating costs than usual, but normally they would be fairly limited, she added.
The amount of scholarships given out is based on what monies can be raised and from locals willing to provide scholarships.
Each scholarship is paid directly to the school with proper invoice and documentation.
The candidates participating can live, work or go to school in the state of Massachusetts.
Being that this is our first year, the competition was open, meaning that anyone in the state can participate she said. As we get more established, I will close the competition, which will mean that I can choose where the pools of candidates live, work or go to school.
“I plan on including Whitman and the surrounding towns,” said Morse
In accordance with the programs guidelines the competition consisted of personal interview, on stage questions, and evening gown/social impact statement. Miss Whitman is a non-profit organization at this time and Morse is currently working on the paperwork to make it a 501(c) 3.
“I thought the competition went very well,” Morse said. “We had 10 wonderful candidates and they did a great job!”
I was able to give away $1400 in scholarships this year, which I think is awesome for our first year. The venue was beautiful and accommodated us fabulously. Overall I thought it was great and our two new titleholders are fabulous and can’t wait to compete at Miss Massachusetts at the end of June, she said. “Both ladies will be a wonderful representative of Whitman and can volunteer at any local events.”
During the event as contestants prepared for their next round dancers from Boss Academy of Hanson performed several routines.Information from the organizations can be found at: Miss America; Miss Massachusetts and Miss Whitman.