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Friendships And Finalists - Wallace Earns 2011 Junior Miss Medallion
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Oakdale’s Junior Miss 2010, Korinne Baxter, right, gives a thumbs up as she successfully places the 2011 medallion around the neck of Emily Wallace. Emily was awarded a total of $2900 during the evening of Saturday, Feb. 27, winning the categories of Jr. Miss, as well as Scholastic and Self Expression. - photo by Teresa Hammond/The Leader

Oakdale High School Junior Emily Wallace has earned the medallion as Oakdale’s Junior Miss 2011.

On Saturday, Feb. 27 the auditorium of Magnolia Elementary School was filled with friends, family and well-wishers as 15 Oakdale juniors presented their “best selves” in an effort to earn scholarship money for a college or trade school of their choosing.

Oakdale’s Junior Miss scholarship program is presented each year by Soroptimist International of Oakdale. With the consistent support of community members as well as local businesses, this year a total of $6750 was awarded to the participants.

Oakdale High School teacher and sports commentator, Pete Simoncini served as master of ceremonies for the evening, describing the participants as “pacesetters, achievers and leaders.” Simoncini also shared with the audience that due to an injury sustained earlier in the week Lauren Davis (the 16th participant) would not be able to participate in the evening’s affairs.

SIO President Suzette Titus, shared to the best of her recollection the 2011 year marked a number of firsts for the group, including Davis’ injury.

“We knew going in that she had a preexisting injury,” Titus stated. “But to put in all this time and practice and have this happen the week of the event … it’s just unfortunate.”

The participants are evaluated by a panel on non-partisan judges on a number of categories including: interview (25 percent), scholastic achievement (20 percent), self-expression (15 percent), fitness (15 percent) and talent (25 percent).

The category of talent hosted the good ‘ol standbys of piano playing, singing and dancing, with a couple of participants mixing up the program by presenting a few more firsts for the evening. Kailey Fisicaro and Haily Macedo showcased their artistic talents on an easel offering a sketch demonstration and Lauren Boster rocked the house with a show stopping drum solo.

After over 45 minutes of deliberation, the judges returned to the auditorium with the results the audience and 15 juniors had anxiously been waiting for. Once all was said, done and tallied however, the evening would belong to Emily Wallace.

“This has been a really wonderful experience,” Emily said, shortly following the announcement of her winning. The junior shared that she had initially signed up to participate in the program as a way to meet more people.

Emily began attending Oakdale High School as a sophomore in the fall of 2008, after relocating to the area with her family from Ohio.

“Three of my very good friends signed up,” she said of her initial interest. “Two were going to pull-up because they didn’t have a talent, but we all found something.”

“I was definitely surprised,” she added of hearing her name announced. “I mean you go in hoping to do well, but you don’t think you are going to win.”

The medallion winner stated, prior to hearing her name she was pleased with the two categories (Self-expression and Scholastic) that she had won, as well as learning all three of her good friends had placed in the top five.

“We had a really good group of girls this year,” she said. “Program day we were all really excited. We just couldn’t decide who was going to win. We knew Samantha Jones was going to win talent, because she’s an amazing pianist. We just had no idea, who would actually win. They are all such amazing girls.”

Emily also described the camaraderie and support each girl offered the other throughout the eight week process, as well as on program day.

For the category of self-expression, the girls are presented with their question at their final rehearsal. The question is then asked during the live performance and each girl must answer before the judges and audience.

According to Emily, the participants reviewed their answers with one another on program day, offering tips and suggestions to one another on how to best deliver their answer.

“Some of the girls were like this is what I really want to say,” she said of the varied answer to the question. “There was no threat or worry of someone stealing or taking from your answer.”

Now, $2900 in scholarship money richer, the OHS junior has her sights set on University of California, Davis. With a profound love of reading, Emily hopes to pursue a career as an editor of novels.

“I’ve loved reading since I was little,” she stated. “I would read with my mom all the time. We started with her reading me the Harry Potter series and it just continued from there.”

When offering advice to future Junior Miss participants, Emily stated, “Just be yourself and know you are going to get along and meet some amazing girls. Ultimately, make the best of the experience.”

Award recipients for Oakdale’s Junior Miss 2011 are as follows: Junior Miss 2011, Emily Wallace; Second Place, Elise Derby; Third Place, Jamie Lahey; Fourth Place, Kailey Fisicaro; Fifth Place, Katelyn Adian. Category winners were: Interview, Jamie Lahey; Talent, Samantha Jones; Scholastic Achievement and Self Expression, Emily Wallace; Fitness, Elise Derby; Community Service, Kailey Fisicaro and Spirit, Carmenne Corbiser.