Five Kitsap County young women are on their way to San Antonio to compete at the American National Teenager Scholarship Pageants.
The "Kitsap Krew" as they are known will leave on July 21 for a week of preliminary competitions and activities leading up to Sat. July 28 when the national organization will crown their 2013 titleholders.
The women will be treated to a special welcome party in the Alamo and stay on the famous Riverwalk. They will also visit and meet the mayor at the outdoor theater where “Miss Congeniality” was filmed.
Rebecca Darrow, 16, Miss Washington National Teenager is a junior at North Kitsap High School. She plans on majoring in biochemistry and pursue a career in biochemistry engineering. She received a two-year tuition scholarship to Oklahoma City University for winning the title. Rebecca is active in ASB and the National Honor Society.
She is on the varsity track team for the 200 meter and 400 meter relays and high jump in which she is ranked in the top ten in Washington state. Rebecca has been dancing at Galletta School of Dance in Poulsbo since she was in the fifth grade and she now works as a teacher’s assistant at the school.
The women all dress up at princesses for community events and volunteer their time to face paint young children. Rebecca is Mulan, which embraces her Chinese heritage. “I love working with kids, seeing them look up to us as role models makes me strive to be the best person I can be,” she said.
She and the rest of the Kitsap Krew recently face painted nearly the whole Naval Avenue Boys and Girls Club at their last event before the end of school.Leah Van Lieshout, Miss Evergreen Senior National Sweetheart is 17, and a junior at Kingston High School. She would like to obtain a bachelors of science in veterinary medicine with a minor in Spanish.
Leah is active in the Kingston community and is has been a varsity cheerleader since 2010 and the co-captain for the last two years. She was a short term Rotary Exchange student to Spain. Leah is looking forward to meeting all of the other titleholders from around the United States.
“I can’t wait to hear about all of the amazing things that they have done to help better change in their communities,” she said.
The ANSTO program encourages their titleholders to do community service in their local area, Leah has worked for Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes and the Boys and Girls Club in addition to other community groups.
Holly Wasson, Miss Washington Senior National Sweetheart is a graduate of Olympic High School and is 17. She will pursue a bachelors of fine arts in musical theater at the American Music and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles this October. Holly was Miss Washington National Teenager last year and was second runner-up in the national competition.
“I had such a great time at last year’s national pageant that I decided to go back and compete for the Sweetheart title and this time I’m bringing some of my friends to be a part of the fun in San Antonio,” she said.
Holly started a SMART Girls Program at the Naval Avenue Boys and Girls Club over a year ago and continues to teach weekly workshops with the other ANTSO titleholders.
“Being a part of the SMART Girls Program has changed my life in so many ways, it takes a lot of dedication to have a weekly program, but it has been so much fun watching the girls grow and try new things,” she said. “I’m really going to miss them when I leave for college."
She is in the process becoming a volunteer for the Hollywood Boys and Girls Club, which is less than a mile away from the AMDA Campus.Emily Rider, 13, Miss Washington Junior National Sweetheart is a eighth grader at Klahowya Secondary School. She is the youngest member of the Kitsap Krew.
Emily was a Little Sister for the Miss Poulsbo/Miss Kitsap/Miss Silverdale Program and she was Holly Wasson’s Pine Cone Princess in the Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen Program. She is active in band and will be the treasurer of Diversity Club in the fall.
She would like to study cosmetology and do make up and hair for television and movies. Emily loves working at the Naval Avenue Boys and Girls Club and plans to continue the program after Wasson leaves for college.
“I really love going to Smart Girls because the girls look up to me as a role model,” she said.
She has taught a workshop on hula dancing, teaching the girls the dance from “Lilo and Stitch” as well as a workshop on Scotland as part of the passport project.
Kaitlyn Gervais, ANTSO Washington Miss is 20, a graduate of Bremerton High School and is a junior at Pacific Lutheran University where she is majoring in psychology. She plans to get her doctorate and work as a clinical psychologist at a hospital and counsel children.
Kaitlyn likes competing in the ANTSO program because of its focus on schoolwork and community service.
“I love ANTSO because they look at the real woman, all of the titleholders are beautiful women inside and out,” she said.
Kaitlyn enjoys volunteering for the SMART Girls Program and for other organizations. Her favorite appearance was participating in the PLU Relay for Life. She walked for five hours to raise awareness and money for cancer research.
“It was a powerful and inspirational evening and I will never forget it,”she added.
The ANTSP program is celebrating its 43rd year, awarding more than 102 million scholarships since its creation. The ladies will be competing in six phases of competition: academic achievement, leadership and community service, interview, evening wear, personal expression and public speaking.
There are also optional contests that are judged by different judges and have no bearing on the main competition.
Rebecca Darrow, Kaitlyn Gervais and Holly Wasson will compete in the talent optionals.
The girls and women will be updating their facebook pages daily and the final results will be posted on the ANTSP website at www.nationalteen.com.