More than just a pageant

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On Saturday November 3, Summerville High School hosted the Miss Greenwave and Miss Greenwave Teen pageants and ,for the first time, the Miss Dorchester and Miss Dorchester Teen pageants as well. They are considered “preliminaries”, meaning that they lead to Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen, and eventually, to Miss America.

“I contacted my LED who, at that time, was the regional director, and she helped me fill out the appropriate paperwork.” Mrs. Meyer, an English and AP Lang teacher at Summerville, said of how she got local pageants to lead to bigger competitions.

She said that she became the LED for the Miss Greenwave pageant because she was Miss Charleston Southern in 2003, so she jumped at the chance to lead the pageant at Summerville.

When one hears the word pageant, they may think: lots of makeup, hair spray, catty girls, and shallow judges.

“[This pageant goes against all assumptions] that pageants are like what you see on Toddlers and Tiaras,” stared Mrs. Meyer, “Many people think that it is all about being pretty and fake.  They don’t realize that the Miss America program is not about that. The Miss America program wants to provide scholarships to young women; they want contestants and winners who are constantly volunteering and making their communities/states better places.”

Each girl will complete a different number of hours, but Mrs. Meyer encourages them to complete at least one hundred hours before going to the Miss South Carolina pageant in June.

Each winner of the Miss pageant got 1000 dollars in scholarships and each of the Teen winners got 500 dollars in scholarships that many of them will use for the Miss SC pageant. At the Miss SC pageant, there is no limit to the amount of scholarships the girls can win, and the money does not have to go singularly to pageant materials.

These girls are constantly working to better themselves and their communities through the work of their platforms. Cameron Fox, who won the title of Miss Green Wave Teen, has a platform of “feeling safe and secure in schools”.

I wanted to choose a platform that was based off a current issue and something that I was passionate about to create a change,” explained Fox, “I conducted a survey asking students of Summerville High if they believed our school provided a safe environment regarding gun violence, and interviewed our SRO lieutenant and the Dorchester District Two Coordinator of Safety and Security.”

Miss Dorchester title-winner Carli Drayton’s platform is called “P.A.C.E. – Depression Awareness”.

“My platform has been my platform since I began competing in pageantry in 2013, and it is based on personal experience,” Drayton stated, “In order to promote my platform, I created an action plan, P.A.C.E., to help people recognize and work through people’s symptoms of depression.”

Julia Hudson, Miss Dorchester Teen, is helping the sea turtles, and plans to help raise money with the South Carolina Aquarium.

Ginger Dicker, Miss Green Wave, is trying to redefine and enlarge equality for those who identify as LGBT in our community.

Girls who compete in these pageants are not just pretty faces, they need to be well-rounded individuals who have hearts filled with compassion and a desire to do great things in their communities, states, and country.

The judges are not looking for a specific girl; they just want to meet a girl who is true to herself and who wants to make a difference in her community,” Mrs. Meyer elaborated on what is needed to win, “They want a girl who can share her talents and passions with others and who can represent the state of South Carolina with poise, grace, and dignity.”

All of the winners also agreed that in order to win, a girl has to be determined and passionate about what they do and what they want.

I didn’t know three of my four winners very well before the pageant, but I can assure you that they have already impressed me, and they have only been crowned for a little more than a week,” said Mrs. Meyer, “They will do well and will hold their own at Miss SC.”

If anyone is interested in being in pageants, make sure to discuss the topic with Mrs. Meyer or a previous pageant contestant.

“I wouldn’t lead this program and want it to continue to grow if I didn’t believe in it,” Meyer assured, “My life was changed by the Miss America program, and I wouldn’t be the person or the teacher that I am today had I not had the opportunity to compete; I want the same to be true for other young women in the Lowcountry.”

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