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Grandview opts out of Junior Miss

GRANDVIEW - Grandview has opted to pull out of the national Junior Miss program and after 30-plus years will return to annual selecting someone for the Miss Grandview title.

That's according to Grandview Junior Miss committee member Elena Olmstead.

"It's something we've been talking about for a number of years now," Olmstead said, noting the national program almost folded a few years ago due to lack of volunteers. At the time, said Olmstead, "We stuck with it because we liked the ideals, we liked the scholarships, the focus on scholastics."

But Grandview Junior Miss Committee Chairwoman Cookie Shannon was told by national Junior Miss authorities that Grandview is not authorized to award its participants a $50 scholarship, nor is it allowed to recognize its community members with awards like the "Friend of Junior Miss" and "Be Your Best Self."

Olmstead said, "They said we aren't authorized to do that."

After mulling it over, committee members decided to part ways with the national Junior Miss program.

"We decided it was just time, time to go our separate ways. We decided we'd much rather support our local community and the girls who participate."

Each candidate in the annual Grandview Junior Miss program has been awarded a $50 scholarship.

"It doesn't seem like a lot, but that's a book, a little extra money.

"It's a lot of work even participating in the program and for that experience to say you get nothing just doesn't seem right," Olmstead said. "And for the people in the community who support us all year, to not recognize them just doesn't seem quite fair, either."

Committee Chairwoman Cookie Shannon agreed with Olmstead on both points.

"Our committee feels that these $50 scholarships in a small part assist these young ladies when they go on to college or a technical school," Shannon said. "We also feel that the 'Be Your Best Self' and Immanuel Lutheran Church community service awards, which are voted on by committee members, are a very personal part of our program."

Olmstead noted Junior Miss community representatives aren't allowed to wear a crown or sash. Here locally, that means the Grandview court sticks out, as just about every other pageant-style program in the Yakima Valley allows pageantry gear, like crowns.

Grandview has participated in the national program since 1975, with Mary Paulson being crowned the first Grandview Junior Miss in 1976.

Olmstead said the community will likely notice no change at all, as committee members want to stick with Junior Miss ideals and format. Even the judging percentages will likely stay the same, she said.

Shannon added, "We may be going to a 'Miss Grandview' pageant, but we will retain the values and follow many of the guidelines that have been a part of the Junior Miss program for 35 years here in Grandview.

"We will still seek the young lady who is well rounded in community, school and church activities and will encourage all the contestants to further their educations."

Miss Grandview will still have the chance to participate in a state program through Junior Miss, as the organization allows girls to participate from communities that aren't involved in its program. "They're just considered at-large contestants," Olmstead said.

The committee is excited for the change to Miss Grandview.

"It does give us a little more freedom," Olmstead said.

Of the girl who gets crowned in the next Grandview program, she said, "Instead of being Grandview Junior Miss, she'll be Miss Grandview and get to wear a crown."

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