Talent on Broadway

The contestants of Shelby County’s 2009 Junior Miss competition plan to bring a Broadway-style production to Oak Mountain High School this weekend, complete with dance and vocal numbers that the girls have practiced for more than a week.

Haley Bagwell, Shelby County Junior Miss 2008, said the exhausting week of rehearsal leaves each participant with a dozen or more new friends.

“When I walked into competition last year, I didn’t realize how amazing all of the girls were at everything,” Bagwell said. “It was definitely a competition at first, but by the end of the week, I had new friends from each of the high schools.”

A majority of the girls competing in Junior Miss pageants carry 4.0 GPAs and have been dancing, singing or acting much of their life, according to Bagwell. She said that’s the idea behind Junior Miss and its platform, “Be your best self.”

This weekend’s pageant offers each girl the chance to make 18 new friends, with 19 girls competing in all. They began practicing last Tuesday and have done so from 5-8 p.m. every day since.

“Not everybody is a dancer, so you all have to work together to learn the steps to the opening number, to the self-expression and the clothing number,” Bagwell said. “After the first hour of practice, the contestants are dripping in sweat, but they are encouraging each other.”

Beyond making new friends and learning more about themselves, the girls compete to seek scholarship money for college. Bagwell went on to participate at the state level and earned $7,500 through both events.

“That’s the main focus — allowing girls to not only continue their education but maybe go even further than they thought they would,” Bagwell said.

Since being named Shelby County’s Junior Miss, Bagwell has spoken at elementary schools and performed her talent at various events.

Girls competing this year for the title include:

1. Kelsey Reynolds, Hoover High, talent –– piano

2. Morgan Mansfield, Oak Mtn. High, talent –– vocal

3. Leigh Pettry, Oak Mtn. High, talent –– ballet

4. Candice Campbell, Spain Park High, talent –– vocal

5. Madeline McClendon Oak Mtn. High, talent –– dance, lyrical

6. Holly Blair Formentano, home schooled, talent –– vocal

7. Emily Busby, Pelham High, talent –– dance, tap

8. Mandy DeAraujo, Oak Mtn. High, talent –– vocal

9. Derica Johnson, Pelham High, talent –– drama

10. Heather Merrick, Oak Mtn. High, talent ––- dance, jazz

11. Mallory Morrison, Oak Mtn. High, talent ––- vocal

12. Brittany Herring, Pelham High, talent –– dance

13. Elise Gilbert, Oak Mtn. High, talent –– flute

14. Morgan Vice, Pelham High, talent ––- dance, jazz

15. Marsy Morgan, Oak Mtn. High, talent ––- drama

16. Mary Ann Friday, Hope Christian, talent –– ballet

17. Abi Duke, Pelham High, talent ––- vocal

18. Emily Covington, John Carroll High, talent ––- dance, jazz

19. Ali Fredrick, Oak Mtn. High, talent ––- vocal