McLean Crowned Miss Moore
Emilea Jane McLean lived out a dream Saturday night when she was crowned Miss Moore County 2007 at the 20th annual pageant held in R.E. Lee Auditorium at Pinecrest High School in Southern Pines.
"I'm thrilled," she says. "Saturday night was one of the most exhilarating of my life. I consider it such a privilege to be able to represent Moore County, and I look forward to really interacting with the community.
McLean, known to family and friends as "Emmy," is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is majoring in journalism and communications.
She thinks she will be able to handle her schoolwork and her duties as Miss Moore County without too much trouble.
"I love being busy," she says. "I just hope I can live up to everyone's expectations, as well as my own. I want to be able to say I've done a good job. I guess it's a good thing that I thrive on pressure!"
McLean, the 20-year-old daughter of Anne and Michael McLean of Whispering Pines, says that winning this pageant has been a dream of hers for several years. Her grandmother, Peggy Ferris, is one of the early members of the Miss Moore Scholarship Pageant Committee.
"Gran didn't say much, and she didn't have to," McLean says. "It was really the way she looked at me that communicated what she was feeling. Just seeing her face after my name was called was enough for me to know she was proud of me."
This was McLean's second try at winning the Miss Moore County title.
For the talent competition, which counts for 35 percent of the total score, she performed "On My Own," a song from "Les Miserables."
"I was first runner-up last year, and even though I didn't win, I still felt like I had grown so much," she says. "It's not winning that makes you feel beautiful, talented, commanding and intelligent. It's merely competing."
McLean says that the actual experience of competing is far from the stereotype.
"I've met so many wonderful, talented, intelligent girls, all of whom are supportive of each other," she says.
McLean will go on to compete at the Miss North Carolina State Pageant in Raleigh next June.
As Miss Moore County, she receives an $1,800 scholarship as well as a $600 in-kind scholarship from Sandhills Community College. She will also be given a wardrobe allowance, crown and crown box, crown pin, scepter, Revere bowl, and $1,000 in photography, as well as several gift certificates from local businesses.
McLean was also won the Community Service Award for her work with skin cancer awareness.
Jenna Racine Walters, 20-year-old daughter of Michael and Cheryl Walters of Raeford, was chosen as first runner-up. She received an $800 scholarship as well as $500 in photography and a Revere Bowl.
She also received the Talent Award and the award for ticket sales. She sang "Break It to Me Gently," the old Juice Newton song, during the talent competition. Her community service platform is "Heartstrings." She is a graduate of The O'Neal School and attends Sandhills Commun-ity College.
Second runner-up was Brittany Michelle Wilcox, daughter of Bob and Michelle Wilcox. She is a student at Pinecrest High School. She received at $500 scholarship, $500 in photography and a Revere bowl. Wilcox sang "Broken Wing" during the talent competition. Her community service platform was "Reconnecting the Generations."
Katie Michelle Ritter was chosen as Miss Congeniality by the other contestants. She also received the Scholar Award. Ritter, the 19-year-old daughter of David and Doretha Ritter of Robbins, is a graduate of North Moore High School. She attends Sandhills Community College.
Other contestants this year included Suzanne Elise Wilson, 17-year-old daughter of Henry and Ruth Wilson of Southern Pines, an O'Neal School senior; Lauren Harman Williams, 20-year-old daughter of Art and Jan Williams of Eagle Springs, an East Montgomery High graduate who now attends Meredith College; Patty Harrington, 23-year-old daughter of Cathy Harrington at Pinehurst, a Pinecrest graduate now attending Shaw University; Lauren Hart Tierney, 22-year-old daughter of Lyn and Bill Culifer of Seven Lakes North, a Pinecrest and Appalachian State University graduate; Jessica Crystal Williams, 17-year-old daughter of Karen Almond-Pile of Pinehurst, a senior attending The O'Neal School; and Lauren Elizabeth McDonald, an 18-year-old Pinecrest student and daughter of Allyson Schoen.
The pageant was co-hosted by Sandy Stewart, one of the first members of the scholarship committee, and Shanon Shepard, Miss Moore County 1999.
Special entertainment was provided throughout the evening by Diane Johnson, Miss Teen Moore County 2006; Alexis Williams, Carolina Princess 2006, Lisa Godwin, Miss Moore County 1989; Marcia Johnson; and Amber White and Ben Dunlap.
Shepard and outgoing Miss Moore County Cassie Davis hammed it up on stage with a duet on "I'm a Woman," and Davis also paid tribute to her late grandfather, teaming up with Jim Wilson for "Amazing Grace."
Other past Miss Moore County titleholders in attendance included Kelly Gray (1991), Kelly Garrison (1993), Sarah Thomas Jones (1994), and Jacqueline Smith (2003).
Faye Dasen can be reached at 693-2475 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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