Living her dream Shelby County’s Junior Miss enjoys time in spotlight

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Hoover High School senior Jessica Headley credits God with her year as Shelby County’s Junior Miss.

&uot;What prepared me the most,&uot; she said, &uot;well, as always, there is one thing that has given me the strength to do anything &045; God.

&uot;I’ve also been involved in a variety of activities which have taught me to prioritize, to get all my tasks done. That way, I’ve had enough time and energy to go after my dreams.&uot;

Headley is preparing for the process of passing her dream onto the next young lady.

She will be present at the Junior Miss Informational Tea on April 27 at 2 p.m.

During the tea, Headley and the organizers of the program in Shelby County will explain to those who are interested the ins and outs of the scholarship competition.

As for Headley, she will leave this year with good memories.

&uot;(This year) has really helped me develop leadership skills,&uot; she said. &uot;Being in a leadership position has opened ears and allowed me to offer advice and information that I would not normally have been able to offer.&uot;

Headley speaks fondly of an experience at Bumpus Middle School.

&uot;I spoke to some girls at Bumpus Middle School and it was an incredible experience. I was able to talk to them, to give them advice and help them prepare for their high school experience,&uot; she said. &uot;And I know they were listening and really appreciated it.&uot;

Headley, the daughter of Art and Mary Headley of Riverchase, was chosen as Shelby County’s Junior Miss in August 2002. In January 2003, she traveled to Montgomery to compete in Alabama’s Junior Miss program, where she was second runner up and the fitness preliminary winner.

She won $3,300 in scholarship money at the local level and about $5,500 in scholarship funds at the state level in addition to the $76,000 in scholarship funds offered from various schools.

Scholarship funds awarded at the local level comes from donations from individuals and businesses.

She said she has narrowed her college choices down to three &045; Miami, Texas Christian University and Birmingham-Southern. She is leaning toward BSU, however.

Her mother said their family is appreciative of the scholarship money.

&uot;The scholarship money is certainly helpful,&uot; said Mary Headley, &uot;especially with seven kids.&uot;

But it’s not the scholarship money that she sees as the most important attribute of the Junior Miss program.

&uot;They meet so many wonderful girls. To me, it’s heartwarming. They’re such good girls,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s not about winning. The program is all about being your best self and taking something valuable from the experience &045; something that makes you a better person.

&uot;Jessica has definitely benefited from this experience. She’s always wanted to Junior Miss. She’s reached one of her goals.&uot;

Headley said her favorite part of the program was the interaction and camaraderie that developed during rehearsals.

&uot;I really enjoyed learning the opening number because we all got to interact. It made for a lot of laughter and a lot of excitement,&uot; she said.

The Junior Miss program features competition in fitness, poise, talent, academics and interview.

Headley said she plans to tout the virtues of the program at the upcoming informational tea.

&uot;It’s a wonderful program,&uot; she said. &uot;It encourages having integrity and gives girls who are not used to being on stage the ability to do things they wouldn’t normally do.

&uot;It focuses on things that are really important in life instead of those that fade away.&uot;

Headley is one of six children, including Heather Bowen, Marlin Headley, Miriam Scharf, Dawn Headley, Larry Rackley and Jeremy Headley. She is the granddaughter of Marv and Betty Wamstad of Pelham and is a member at The Cathedral Church of the Advent, where she serves as an acolyte.

She and other organizers of the Shelby County Junior Miss program will be on hand April 27 at 2 p.m. at the North Shelby Library on Highway 119