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A side note to the pageant this year, and a noticeable addition, was the use of sign language by the contestants during introductions on stage.
"I like the way I can talk with deaf people," says Alise Ferrell, a 5th grader at Jackson Elementary School. It makes me feel good to be ready to sign language to someone if they're deaf. I can just talk to them..I won't just pass them by."
The first sign language practice with the girls and the interpreter was hectic," says pageant spokesperson Tanya Leeper. "I thought, 'oh Lord, here they go.' But then something wonderful happened. The girls really took to it quickly, and picked up the basics. When they did that, every other part of it came just as quick. We have high expectations of our young women, and they boosted our faith in them. I even saw some of them signing to each other when nobody was coaching them."
"They are just amazing."
As always, judges grade the pageant contestants on their poise and grace before the audience. The contestants' persistance paid off, and although everyone's a winner, the judges' decisions were as follows:
This year's Miss Congeniality was Teya Merrill.
The 2nd Runner-up was Makiyah Blye.
And the winner.. Little Miss Vision, 2013 is.. K'Miyah Shaw. She also wins several prizes and will represent the program for the upcoming year in the city of Kingsport.
"Little Miss Vision gets bigger every year, because the girls have fun," Leeper says. "They enjoy meeting different girls, doing different things, going different places as a group. We're teaching them to set close when the pagenat and all the activicites are all over."
"Stay friends with each other and stay in touch. Once they journey on in school, stay close to each other for support."