Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010 Little Miss Vision Pageant

Every queen starts out as a princess.

And 8 little princesses took part in the Little Miss Vision pageant Saturday night, June 5, 2010 at the Kingsport Renaissance Center. The theme of this year's event was "Attitude, Ability and Appearance," a theme the girls carry with them all year long.

To see a slideshow of the 2010 Little Miss Vision Pageant, please click here.

To see downloadable pictures of the 2010 Little Miss Vision Pageant, please click here.

"The pageant is all about the girls," says Little Miss Vision Director Lillian Leeper. "If you want them to have a good attitude, ability and appearance, let us try to help them establish that. It's a year-long commitment to teach them how to have good self-esteem and positive thinking."

Contestants this year were K'Miyah Williams, Ja'Naya Hamler, Da'Nayjah Somerville, Qu'edence Somerville, Makyaih Goodwin, Abriana Bateman, Ta-Tionna White and Olivia Huff. "We were small in number this year," Mrs. Leeper says, "but big on talent. The girls enjoyed getting to show off their abilities."

Emcee for the pageant was Anthony Adams, who took some ribbing from the nickname we all know him by: "Peanut." He kept the audience both amused and interested in the next thing on the program. Our own resident comic and resident cut-up Xavier "Tim" Hall had the crowd in stitches, trying to relate to a microphone that was set up way low for the girls to introduce themselves.

The girls started out by introducing themselves in true pageant form, to let the audience and, more importantly, the judges, get familiar with their personalities, their abilities and their charm. Several times, during other on-stage events, the girls came back in different dresses with different presentations and routines they learned, especially for the pageant.

During the different contestant interludes, Casey McClintock gave a moving serenade on the saxaphone and the clarinet, with some ole-time gospel favorites. His beautiful renditions had the crowd with tears in their eyes.. a hidden talent from within the community that just about everybody knew has musical abilities, but may not have heard them demonstrated.

And then, there was Tiara Jordan.. talk about 'tears in your eyes.' Her gospel renditions, combined with a deep, soulful voice that reminded us older folks of a young Aretha Franklin, had many people on their feet several times. Like Casey, she put her heart into every note, and there was no doubt that her voice was sincere.

Two praise teams took the Written Word and put it into graceful motions, a feat not easy to do, except for the able. For His Glory and Nevaeh from Gate City, Virginia have performed at events before, with the same results: enough soul and emotion to proclaim, "we are having church up in here tonight!"

The judges had the most difficult job, as each contestant charmed them with their individual personalities. Judging the competition this year were Jackie Charles of Rogersville... Terry Kasmire, owner of Sugar Mama's Waxing and Beading in Kingsport and Asheville... Paula Michelle Snapp of Rogersville, retired trooper with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and wife of Lyons Chapel Pastor James Snapp... and official counter tabulators Jacklan Reece, who is with the For His Glory Praise Team... Victoria Price, who is in the marching band at Dobyns-Bennett... and Monica Roller, a student at Northeast State majoring in Education.

Little Miss Vision Pageant 2009 winner Ayona Barlow has worn the crown proudly over the past year, also bonding with this year's contestants. Her favorite part of being Little Miss Vision, she says, is making new friends and getting to do "fun" things that only girls can do.

As the competition drew to a close, time to announce the winners chosen by the judges:

Miss Congeniality: Makyiah Goodwin

2nd Runner-up: Makyiah Goodwin

1st Runner-up: K'Miyah Williams

And the winner is.. the 2010 Little Miss Vision: Qu'edence Somerville

To the tunes of "Isn't She Lovely?" by Stevie Wonder, amid thunderous applause, Ms. Somerville posed for pictures, smiled for the crowd, and seemed to enjoy the happiness from her fellow contestants the most.

And so the story goes.. Little Miss Vision organizers are already starting on next year's contest. To do that, girls have to come into the program right now. The deadline is June 28, 2010.

"If we could get the community behind us," Mrs. Leeper says, "they would see how good this is for the girls and how much they love it. The winner gets to ride in the Kingsport parades and everybody gets to see and meet her, but all the girls will come to the Swim Party this summer. They're also getting to do elegant things, like to the Barter Theater in Abingdon, Virginia this year.

"The best thing is that the girls really enjoy the fellowship," Mrs. Leeper says.
"They get to run around with each other, bond together and meet new friends. They get to go out to dinner, things like that."

"I think it's the friendship. That's the most important thing."

And for next year's pageant?

"We're coming back next year.. bigger and better."