Catching up with Jr. Miss

Published 9:59 pm Saturday, July 11, 2009

The year is nearly over for Rachel Marie Smith’s reign as Dallas County Junior Miss.

“This year,” she says “has been such a great experience. I loved it. It can be stressful but I have met so many wonderful people that I probably would never have known. For instance, in January I was in Montgomery with 52 other candidates to compete for Alabama Junior Miss. And I made friends with so many of them. It was great.”

The year of her reign was also her last year at Morgan Academy, where she graduated with the Class of 2009. In addition to her excellent academic record, Rachel was involved in a number of activities, at school, with her church and community, “and all of them fun,” she says, laughing.

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A partial list includes being water girl for the Morgan football team, “carrying around coolers and bottles of water, getting all hot and sweaty, but definitely having fun.”

She worked as a volunteer dance instructor for McConnell Twins’ studio for three years. “Tap is my favorite. I’ve been dancing since I was 3.”

As a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish in Carlowville she was active in its Youth Department through the 11th grade and has just returned from Camp McDowell, where she helped in the girls cabins and was counselor for the Special Needs Camp

Her only vacation this summer has been a week at Orange Beach. On her return she resumed a part-time position at Cedar Hill Assisted Living, where her grandfather spends some time each week.

She is the youngest of three in her family, with an older sister Lauren, who is employed at Wachovia, and a brother Jeremy, who plays baseball in Aiken, S.C.

She enjoys talking about her parents, Doug and Denise Smith, saying “No way that I could have made it through Junior Miss without them. They discussed things with me, watched me practicing over and over again, doing that tap dance from ‘Shine on Your Shoes’ from ‘The Band Wagon’.”

In addition to the $3,000 scholarship, she also won in three other categories: $300 in the talent contest for that tap dance; $300 for physical fitness and $300 for self-expression.

Rachel is enrolled at Auburn University in communicative disorders and is thinking of speech pathology as a career.

“It would be neat to help hospital patients, in-house children and at those at special schools who need treatment,” she says.

For the rest of the summer she is enjoying some time at home where her Yellow Lab , Mac, and Jack Russell mix, Izzie, are so excited to be with her again.

As for Junior Miss, Rachel Smith says “I encourage girls to do Junior Miss 110 percent. Lots of good comes out of it.”