October 7, 2010

NAMiss Washington heading to Nationals in California

Gold Bar preteen to represent Washington at National American Miss pageant
Polly Keary

Of 78 girls competing from all over the state, it was a girl from Gold Bar who was chosen to represent Washington at the National American Miss pageant in Anaheim, Cailf. in November.

Jazmine Morgan, 13, entered her first pageant just two years ago.

"My first pageant was the Gold Dust Days pageant in 2008," said the poised, well-spoken preteen last week at the Sultan Volunteers of America, where she is a volunteer.

She had never thought of entering a pageant before, but a friend talked her into it, and she found the experience a lot of fun, especially because she won it.

Encouraged, Morgan decided to enter the National American Miss Pageant last year, and wound up in the top 10. She also entered the Miss Teen Seattle pageant, and took second place in the preteen category.

Labor Day weekend, Morgan again entered the National American Miss pageant. This time, she won it all, including $1,000 cash and $350 toward getting to the next competition.

The contest is much different than the controversial pageants in which young girls wear makeup and heels, with adult hairstyles and jewelry.

In fact, makeup is forbidden at National American Miss pageants. The focus is on poise, leadership, public speaking, and skills that will be of use to the child as an adult.

That is what eased the mind of Heidi Cate, Morgan's mother.

"I was impressed they did not allow makeup," she said. "They really seem to be about self esteem, experience interviewing, being able to speak in public, set goals, do community service. So I said, 'Okay, this is something I do want my daughter to be able to do.'"

In order to win, Morgan had to do an interview with judges, give a personal introduction in front of a large audience, appear in evening wear to demonstrate poise, and present a resume.

Unlike many of the girls, she wore items either loaned to her or bought for low cost on line.

Her dress was loaned by Karen Howard, one of the Red Hat ladies that put on the Gold Bar pageant. Her suit was found on eBay.

But her fresh and unpretentious personality was part of her winning presentation, as was her history of community service.

Her love of community service is a family trait; her mother works for a non-profit agency that does AIDS outreach and provides assistance to at-risk mothers and babies.

Morgan has helped out a lot at that organization and others, donating stuffed animals and books to children at the Volunteers of America, gift bags for kids whose parents are in drug treatment, stuffed animals for kids at Children's Hospital, and helping out at the food bank.

She also is secretary of her ASB and is involved in soccer, volleyball, Sultan Lip Sync, and other community service projects and events.
NAM WA Pre-Teen
"I really want to help out my community," she said. "I helped out at the Sultan Food Bank for the first time on Tuesday and with showed me how a small thing to me is a big thing to other people."

She hopes to study law, perhaps at Harvard, and use her degree to help people, perhaps in family law.

"My favorite show is 'Law and Order,'" she said.

But for right now, the Sultan Middle School eighth-grader is trying to find sponsors to help her get to Anaheim.

She will need to raise $3,000 to attend a week-long competition there, during which time she will also get to see Disneyland and get a tour of Hollywood.

She has raised $525 so far, she said, and is planning to visit various community groups in the near future to seek support.

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