Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hampton Newport News Results

Confirmed H-NN Pageant Results

Preteen: Jordan Frankos

Teen: Shelby Smith


4th Runner up: Jessica Young
3rd Runner up: Lauren Cannon
2nd Runner up:Emily Hall
1st Runner Up:Meredith Brown
Winner: Emily Schwab

Talent & Congenality: Emily Schwab
Interview : Emily Schwab
Swimsuit: Emily Hall

A new appearance

Last night was spent with a local Brownie/Junior Girl Scout troop at a really neat store in Blacksburg called Beadsburg. I spent the evening helping the Girl Scouts put together necklaces and bracelets to give to others as gifts.

Many know that Girl Scouts is a crucial part of my platform; I was a Girl Scout my entire life, earning my Gold Award and receiving a wonderful $6,000 scholarship from the National Elks Foundation for my work. I have since served as a Girl Scout leader while in Lynchburg, and now I'm meeting with as many Girl Scout troops as possible across Lynchburg, Blacksburg, and southwest Virginia. I think it's so important for young women to learn lessons about self-esteem, goal setting, and recognizing "red flag" friendships and I have developed presentations for even the youngest Girl Scouts to talk about these issues. I'm also excited that I was asked by a Lynchburg troop to help with the planning and production of their Girl Scout Silver Award! Lots of exciting things are coming!

It was so much fun to meet all these girls and work with them, and I'm excited that the troop leaders want me to volunteer with them as much as possible! I had the opportunity to meet two very outgoing young women in the troop who were a lot of fun.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Miss Hampton-Newport News

This weekend, a new Miss Hampton Newport News will be crowned! The contestants are:

Meredith Brown
Emily Hall
Emily Schwab
Heather Baker
Kaytlynne West
Morgan Elwell
Jessica Young
Jayne Williamson
Lauren Cannon

Good luck, ladies!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Miss Virginia News

November 19, 2008
Miss Virginia to appear at Virginia Tech hockey game
Miss Virginia, Tara Wheeler, played goalie in college.
Miss Virginia, Tara Wheeler, played goalie in college.

Virginia Tech's hockey team tearing it up on the ice Wednesday night.

It was practice for Friday night's game when the Hokies take on Duke at the Roanoke Civic Center.

Only it won't just be the boys out on the ice.

Miss Virginia, Tara Wheeler, will put on her jersey during intermission for a shootout to benefit the Children's Miracle Network.

She's no stranger to the ice.

Since she was a goalie for the women's team at Penn State, she might give these boys a run for their money.

The game starts at 7:30 Friday night. Then Tech takes on Georgetown Saturday afternoon.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Breaking Pageant News!

Sharon Pearce
Miss America Organization

609.653.8700 x117

52 Women. One Miss America. The competition beginS when TLC premieres “Countdown to the Crown” on January 2, 2009

for the first time ever, america gets to judge

and place four girls into the pageant finals

Last year, TLC and Miss America gave the pageant contestants a “Reality Check” and showed what it really takes to win the ultimate dream of becoming Miss America. This year, the stakes are even higher – a chance to win a spot in the pageant’s coveted “top 15” – when the 52 state titleholders live together and face a series of competitions in TLC’s COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN. The four-part reality series kicks off Friday, January 2, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT).

Each one-hour episode, hosted by Tyler Harcott, finds the contestants living on the majestic Queen Mary ocean liner and navigating through a series of team and individual competitions that help them prepare for the pageant and prove they have what it takes to be a modern-day Miss America. Through it all, viewers at home get to know the girls, and ultimately have a hand in voting four contestants into the pageant.

“Miss America continues to evolve to reflect today’s young woman, and remains incredibly forward-thinking as it develops a new generation of intelligent, thoughtful, and passionate contestants,” said Art McMaster, President/CEO of the Miss America Organization.


Joining Tyler are two consultants - Kym Douglas and Antthony Mark Hankins – who guide the women through their experience and decide who is best prepared to become 2009’s Miss America. Through the challenges, the 52 contestants are expected to push their personal limits in an effort to win a gold sash, possibly advancing them into the top 15 at the Miss America pageant, which airs on TLC live from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 24.

Voting, which begins after the 15 gold-sash finalists are selected, will be conducted online at, and via text messaging.

“For the first time ever, America has the chance to be a judge and select four of the contestants they think deserves to make it into the pageant,” explains Brent Zacky, VP of Development at TLC. “By giving viewers the chance to get to know the girls during COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN, we are confidant four great contestants will take the stage in January to compete for the Miss America title.”


Each week’s episode welcomes a guest consultant who spotlights one of the key pillars that create a successful Miss America contestant. These consultants also have a hand in selecting that week’s gold sash winner.

Episode 1: premieres January 2, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT)

Guest consultant: Gretchen Carlson, Miss America 1989 and host on Fox Network’s FOX AND FRIENDS.

· Team Challenge: Quest for the Crown, a scavenger-style race through the ship.

· Individual Challenge: Pitch Perfect. The table’s set to determine the girls’ ability to remain composed, form an argument, and listen as well as she speaks.

Episode 2: premieres January 9, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT)

Guest consultant: Shakara Ledard, renowned supermodel

· Team Challenge: Fitness First Obstacle Course – the teams face off in a fun endurance race to the end.

· Individual Challenge: Runway Photo Shoot. Which girl has mastered her poise and confidence on the runway?

Episode 3: premieres January 16, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT)

Guest Consultant: Clinton Kelly, from TLC’s What Not To Wear. Clinton will also reprise his role as a special correspondent for the Miss America pageant.

· Team Challenge: Miss American Shopper. Will it be retail rivalry when each team has to share one shopping budget?

· Individual Challenge: Little Black Dress returns with a fashion-forward eye on personal style and resourcefulness.

Episode 4: premieres January 23, 2009 at 10 PM (ET/PT)

Guest Consultant: Susan Powell, Miss America 1981

· Team Challenge: Miss America’s Got Talent. It’s a talent showdown as the teams perfect a routine and compete against each other.

· Individual Challenge: Rock the Runway, where all of the planning pays off in their final chance to secure a sash.

Additional press materials, including series photography, are available at

COUNTDOWN TO THE CROWN is produced for TLC by Tijuana Entertainment. Executive producers are Troy Searer and John Foy.

Congrats to a former Miss Hill City


Miss Virginia Tech

The evening was full of unique talents, puzzling interviews, and sophisticated gowns. On stage, contestants battled it out to gain the title of Miss Virginia Tech.

Upon arriving, guests were charged $5 at the door and were asked who they came to support. At promptly 5:00 p.m. on Saturday Nov. 1, spectators were released into the Haymarket Theatre in Squires Student Center for the 4th Annual Miss VT competition.

The Zeta Psi Fraternity of North America presented the pageant in order to raise money for a local charity. All of the money earned went to the Interfaith Food Pantry, which helps needy families afford food. The earnings also went to the Christmas store, which creates packages for families who cannot afford them.

Robert Shubert, the Philanthropy Chair of Zeta Psi Fraternity said, “Zeta Psi has held this event all four years and every year it becomes a bigger hit.”

The audience nearly filled the Haymarket Theatre and groups of fans clustered together cheering for their favorite Miss VT contestant. The lights dimmed and all nine contestants took the stage. They began by introducing themselves and explaining what organization they represented.

Most contestants were competing on behalf of a sorority. Sororities included: Delta Zeta, Alpha Gamma Delta, Sigma Kappa, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, and Alpha Chi Omega. The other two contestants represented Dance Company at Virginia Tech, and SalsaTech.

The three judges included: Dr. LuAnn R. Gaskill, Department Head of Apparel, Housing & Resource Management, Ronald Shidemantle, Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and Sonya Milstead, Miss VT winner in 2005.

The event began with performances by the official Salsa Club at Virginia Tech, SalsaTech, and Juxtaposition, Virginia Tech’s all male a cappella group.

The first round exhibited each of the contestant’s special talents. Some competitors sang or danced while others tumbled. Contestant Courtney Hatton, representing Dance Company at Virginia Tech said, “I was a little nervous at first because the floor was slippery and it was difficult to dance, but overall I think I did a pretty good job.”

The question round followed a second performance by Juxtaposition. Contestants were given challenging questions such as: “Name one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses,” and “If you were crowned Miss VT how would you improve a problem on campus?”

The evening gown round ended the competition a little after 7 p.m. and the raffle winners were announced. Juxtaposition walked on stage for a final performance and then all nine contestants were once again asked to come back out.

Lauren Singer, representing Alpha Chi Omega, brought the highest number of supporters and was crowned Miss Popularity. Alison Miller sponsored by Alpha Phi, received second runner up and Lauren Morris, member of Chi Omega, accepted first runner up. The ultimate title of Miss Virginia Tech went to Whitney Law, sophomore communication major sponsored by Delta Delta Delta.

-Samantha Harlan

Whitney was the 2008 Miss Hill City

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Virginia Tech

The last few weeks have been extremely busy. I can’t believe that I only have two weeks of classes left before I am ¼ of the way done with my masters! This semester has been the busiest I’ve ever experienced, but my grades are extremely strong and I feel confident about the work I’ve put into each class. I feel completely in my element here, especially when I am teaching! Teaching politics means thinking on your feet and having knowledge of many other areas- geography, history, sociology, economics, etc. I've gotten random questions from my students about the operations of ballistic missiles, public opinion on the Vietnam War from start to end, and had post-class discussions about the mortgage crisis. My students have on the whole impressed me. Last week, we discussed Iran and several of my students were very knowledgeable about a country that I suspect many Americans are not. They are bright, motivated, and ask intelligent questions. I've been a sounding board for graduate school advice, test anxiety, and had to learn about how to incorporate all kinds of learners into the process. It's been a wonderful experience and I've gained just as much from teaching my own class as I have from the classes I am taking!

Last week, I was in my executive branch class on Thursday afternoon as usual, when two fellow students called the teachers attention to a text message sent to all students that possible gunshots had been fired in Pritchard Hall. Our class of about 12 students immediately went silent- the mood changed completely.

Before coming to Virginia Tech, I guess I thought I knew some of what must have felt like to be a part of the events that happened on 4/16. At that very moment though, I could hardly even begin to describe my emotions accurately. Fear. Confusion. Feeling disturbed. Wondering if this was really happening. Trying to recall in my head if any of my students lived in that hall. We closed the blinds and wheeled a tv in front of the window and shut the door so it locked. In the room, the professor and two students had been on campus on 4/16, and there were changes in all three of them as they tried to understand what might be going on. We couldn’t really carry on with class, because everyone was going through their own emotions.

It turned out that the “gunshots” were really the sounds of an exploded nail gun canister in a dumpster, but you can never be too safe anymore. As a teacher, I’ve felt like it’s so important to be aware, watch your students, and note any strange behavior or attitudes that crop up. In that moment, I am sure that I only experienced a fraction of the emotions that Virginia Tech students felt in 2007. It is truly scary to be on campus in that situation, because you get the feeling that everyone else in the world knows what’s going on but you don’t. You’re sitting there in lockdown, having heard sirens a few moments before, trying to grapple with the possibility of real danger.

When 4/16 happened, I was studying abroad in England. The difference between American media coverage and British coverage was marked. Whereas British news covered it in the light of “look how this university pulled together”, American sources were interested in a blame game. Other TA’s that I work with were interviewed after 4/16, and turned down interviews with local news sources after the reporters asked “Do you think the president should be fired?”. Virginia Tech is an extremely close community, and it’s amazing that with so many students, it is truly possible to feel the same things at the same time- whether it’s pride in football games or concern over another potential shooting.

I walk by the buildings where several students were killed on 4/16 every day, and it is refreshing to see that the community has somewhat healed. Students go in and out of the buildings, on with their lives, and travel across the immense campus feeling safe.

Several people expressed concern when they heard I was coming here for graduate school. Rest assured that I am signed up for the VT Alerts system, and we got phone calls and emails to let us know what was going on. In any case, it is amazing to be part of a campus community that truly takes safety seriously and investigates problems. I honestly feel more safe here than I did as a senior in college at times.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Miss VA in the news

Click here to read about a recent article covering Tara Wheeler, Miss Virginia

Monday, November 10, 2008

Apple Blossom Article

Link below to the article covering the Apple Blossom pageant


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pageant Winners

Miss Hampton Roads:
Winner: Kristena Wright (Swimsuit, Interview)
1st Runner up: Shannon Oliver (Talent)
2nd runner up: Ashley Smith
3rd runner up: Chinah Helmandollar
4th runner up: Emily Schwab

Miss Apple Blossom Festival:
Winner: Caitlin Uze (Congeniality, Talent)
1st runner up: Erika Thomas
2nd runner up: Emily Hall
3rd runner up: Stephanie Van Petten
4th runner up: Alyce Haynes

Miss Lonesome Pine:
Winner: Victoria Jordan

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Recap: This weekends contestants

So here are all the contestants for this weekend's three Virginia pageants. Best of luck to everyone!

Miss Apple Blossom Festival:
Madison Van Duyne, Miss Apple Blossom 2008
Heather Baker- Heather has competed so far this season at Miss Hill City/Star City

Loren Ferster

Emily Hall-Emily competed in locals last year and competed in Miss Roanoke Valley (winning community service) and Miss Hill City/Star City (winning swimsuit)

Alyce Haynes competed in Miss Roanoke Valley and was 4th runner up, also competed at Miss Hill City/Star City

Araina Holloway Bethany Munt

Erika Thomas-Erika competed last year in Miss Greater Richmond, Miss Greater Springfield (1st runner up), and Miss Commonwealth (1st runner up) last year. This is her first local of this season.

Melanie Torrence
Caitlin Uze-Caitlin competed at Miss Virginia this year as Miss Greater Springfield; she was a top 11 finalist and a Preliminary Swimsuit Winner. This is her first local of the season.

Miss Hampton Roads:
Elizabeth Crot, Miss Hampton Roads 2008
Preliminary Talent Winner and 3rd Runner up to Miss VA

Emily Schwab-Emily competed at Miss Virginia 2007 as Miss Hampton Holly Days Festival. This is her first local of the season.

Kristena Wright-Kristena competed at Miss Virginia 2008 as Miss Fairfax; she was a non-finalist talent winner. First local of the season.

Shannon Oliver-Shannon competed at Miss Virginia 2008 as Miss VA Beach. She was a top 11 finalist, this is her first local this season. (Also my Miss Virginia roommate!)

Chinah Helmandollar-Chinah competed at Miss Virginia 2008 as Miss Greater Franklin County; she was 4th runner up and a preliminary swimsuit winner. She was recently second runner up at the Miss Roanoke Valley pageant.

Ashley Smith- Ashley has competed at Miss Virginia as Miss Virginia Beach (2006), Miss Virginia Peanut Festival (2007), and Miss Norfolk (2008). This is her first local of the season.

Ciara Brown-Ciara competed at Miss Virginia 2008 as Miss Southeastern Virginia. This is her first local of the season.

Meredith Brown
Constance Merryman

Miss Lonesome Pine:
Farahn Morgan, Miss Lonesome Pine 2008

Amanda French: Amanda competed in several locals last year, I believe placing as a runner up at two of them. First local of the season.

Misti Caviness: I believe Misti competed somewhere last year, I can't seem to remember where. This is her first local this season.

Rachel Miller: Rachel competed at a few locals last year and was a runner up at Miss Mountain Empire.

Alisha Evans Meagan Boyd Megan Boggs Nancy Kamal Victoria Jordan

Friday, November 7, 2008


Well, I had mentioned that I met Obama and Biden in 2006, and I recently uncovered this picture of my mom with Joe Biden. Just thought it would be great to share a picture of our new Vice-President Elect!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Miss Apple Blossom Contestants

Heather Baker of Troutville is a social sciences major at Virginia Western Community College. She will dance for her talent competition. Her platform is “Get Involved, Stay Involved, and VOTE!” Her sponsor is Winchester Printers.

Loren Ferster of Winchester is a junior at Shenandoah Conservatory, majoring in musical theater. Her career ambition is to perform on Broadway. Loren will sing for her talent competition, and her platform is promoting arts literacy. Loren’s sponsor is Q102.

Emily Hall of Louisa is a freshman at Piedmont Virginia Community College, majoring in music education. Her career ambition is to teach music in elementary schools. She will sing for the talent competition, and her platform is “4-H — Developing Our Youth.” She is sponsored by Winchester Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Alyce Haynes of Salem is a freshman at Radford University, majoring in fashion merchandising. She will sing for her talent competition. Her platform is “Empowering Women/Body Drama.” Her sponsor is Billy Carter and family.

Araina Holloway (not pictured) of Arlington is a graduate of George Mason University and is a student at Georgetown University, pursuing a master’s degree in journalism. Her career ambition is to be a broadcast journalist in sports and entertainment. She will sing for her talent, and her platform is curing cancer, specifically colon cancer. Her sponsor is A New Century Realty.

Bethany Munt(not pictured) of Alexandria is a William Smith College graduate and a student at George Mason University, pursuing a master’s degree in public policy. Her platform is “Pets Promoting Literacy.” Her sponsor is Powers Great American Midways.

Erika Thomas of Winchester is a communications major at James Madison University. Her career ambition is to own a marketing and media specialist company. She will perform a jazz dance for the talent competition. Her platform is “Reducing Truancy and Increasing School Attachment: One Day at a Time.” She is sponsored by First Bank.

Melanie Torrence of Amissville is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, where she majored in sociology. Her career ambition is to practice criminal law. She will play the flute for the talent competition. Her platform is “Recognizing the Importance of the Special Olympics in the Lives of the Disabled.” Her sponsor is Watts Financial Group.

Caitlin Uze of Arlington is a social work major at James Madison University. Her career ambition is to positively impact lives as a social worker. She will perform an Irish dance for the talent competition. Her platform is ”Building Positive Self Image.” Her sponsor is Fraternal Order of Eagles 824.

Stephanie Van Petten of Chesapeake attends Longwood University, majoring in elementary education. Her career ambition is to become an elementary school teacher. Stephanie will perform a tap dance for the talent competition. Her platform is “Stand Up! Stand Out! Eliminating Peer Pressure and Promoting Positive Self Esteem.” Her sponsor is American Woodmark Corp.

These girls will compete in the teen contest:

Taylor Campbell of Manassas is a 7th-grader at Stonewall Middle School. She is a soccer player, cheerleader, track runner, and swimmer, as well as an honor roll student. She will be tap-dancing for her talent competition; her platform is promoting literacy in reading.

Ashley Gregory of Mechanicsville is a freshman at Hanover High School. She is a Hanover Show Biz Kid, a National Junior Beta Club inductee, and has raised money for Children’s Miracle Network. She will perform a jazz ballet routine for her talent competition. Her platform is “Working with Special Needs Children.”

Miranda Harrison of Glen Allen is a sophomore at JR Tucker High School and Henrico Center for the Arts. She is a trained dancer and a member of the Ecology Club, Keyettes, Interact Club, and Drama Club. She will sing for her talent competition. Her platform is “Go Green Girl.”

Danielle Stryker of Winchester is a freshman at Foxcroft School. She is a performer at Wayside Theatre in Middletown while taking classes at Shenandoah University. She will perform a Shakespearean monologue for her talent competition, and her platform is “Stop Animal Cruelty.”

As long as I get through most of my homework, I plan to drive up and cheer on some of these girls. I have lots of friends competing, so it will be exciting to be in the audience!! Extra good luck wishes to Katie, Emily Hall, Heather Baker, Miranda H, and Taylor Campbell! I also love watching other tap dancers, so it will be a treat to see both Taylor and Stephanie!

Miss AZ quoted in paper

I found this article online, but I think the author failed to write it quite properly. It makes it sound as thought Erin Nurss, Miss AZ, has a child in Iraq. I think the journalist was referring to the first woman quoted in the paragraph.

“I am crying because my son was the first navy sailor to be killed in Iraq. I believe it is the best to fight terrorism; he fought in Vietnam and knows what the nation needs. Obama does not have the experience and has also associations with terrorist,” Debbie lee said to Yemen Times. Erin Nurss, Miss Arizona for 2008, said she was disappointed that McCain lost the race. “It is disappointing that he did win; he has done much for Arizona, while another Republican female fan said the Americans were stupid when they voted for Obama. She said her son is in the navy and will be commanded by inexperienced president.

Looks like the journalist missed a set of quotation marks, too!

Article from the Yemen Times

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our new president

Barack Obama makes history as the nation's first African American president, headed into the White House next January with a clear mandate for change.

John McCain's concession speech was a wonderful reflection of McCain's nature himself, as he calmly responded.

Election 08

Today, America will make history no matter the outcome. Although I hope everyone stays safe, I'm particularly hoping my mother, chair of the Board of Elections in our county in Ohio, will survive this day! It could be a long one!

I first met Barack Obama and Joe Biden in 2006 while working for the chair of the Ohio Democratic Party. Both came to speak at the annual ODP dinner. I've been a Joe Biden fan for years. Biden and his office drafted the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, passed by the Clinton administration. This bill has provided billions of dollars to programs helping victims of violence, encouraged tougher laws for perpretrators, and is a key piece of legislation that many states model their programs after. To have a vice-presidential candidate, and potential vice president, who has truly been a "maverick" for women's rights is exciting for me as an advocate for women's rights and victim protection.

All eyes are on the battleground states today, and I'm particularly curious about Ohio and Virginia. In the past, I have worked numerous general and primary elections in Ohio. This last March, during the primary election, our weather was so bad that Sheriff's deputies had to deliver the ballot boxes back to the Board! I heard today that Jennifer Brunner, Secretary of State in Ohio, is anticipating an 80% turnout in the state. This is not really a surprise to me, since so many people have already voted early and there are still lines for hours outside the polling places! Ohio has a lot at stake in this election as does our neighbor Michigan. Both states are some of the hardest hit in the foreclosure crisis, facing staggering unemployment rates as manufacturing and the auto industries crumble.