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Junior Miss on the Alabama

In August they will vie for the same crown. Until then, the contestants of the Dallas County Junior Miss pageant will set competitive drive aside and have fun together.

In the first gathering since pageant orientation on May 2, more than half of the participants gathered to socialize and relax on the Phoenix operated by Queen City tours.

Program chairman Ben Holifield wanted the young women to mingle and have fun and thought the change of venue would help.

“We’ve had [social] teas before, but this is the first riverboat tour we’ve ever had,” Holifield said.

The theme for this year’s pageant, “rollin’ on the river” also stemmed from creating the riverboat event, Holifield said.

“It’s good to get to know everybody in the competition,” said Nova Moss, a contestant and senior at Selma Early College.

Before beginning the pageant program, Moss thought she was shy, but the pageant has taught her to become more confident.

“I’m more outgoing than I thought I was because usually I don’t talk to a lot of people,” Moss said. “I like to meet people now.”

Samantha Speed, a contestant and senior at Morgan Academy, entered the pageant to spend time with friends and earn scholarships for college at either the University of Mobile or Troy University.

“I really wanted to do the program because it’s such a good scholarship opportunity, and where I want to go to school is really expensive, so I know that just entering the competition will give me a chance for a lot more scholarship money that I wouldn’t have had,” Speed said.

The competition will be held Aug. 28. Interviews with judges will be Aug. 27.

Participants will be judged based on scholastics, interview, talent, fitness and self-expression.

Katie Jackson of Morgan Academy was crowned Dallas County Junior Miss 2010. Jackson will attend The University of Alabama in the fall.

The Dallas County Junior Miss program is sponsored by the Civitan Club of Dallas County and has provided scholarship opportunities to young women for 35 years. Scholarship awards are provided through donations of businesses and private donors.

The national program, America’s Junior Miss, was founded in Mobile in 1958. Each year, more than 5,000 young women participate at the local and state levels.