YAKIMA - Five young ladies from the Lower Yakima Valley competed yesterday (Sunday) in the Miss Yakima County program held at the Capitol Theatre, and all five earned honors.
Alyssa Fennell of Sunnyside was the big winner, earning the Miss Yakima County 2010 title after having performed a contemporary dance to "Footloose" and explained she would like to get schools and churches involved in preventing teens from smoking.
She has a desire to partner with the American Lung Association and its programs, such as TATU to educate youth about the dangers of tobacco use.
When asked during the interview what new product she would develop for the consumer market, Fennell said, "Super, super, super hold hair spray for pageants."
Her dance performance combined with her poise made it clear the 2004 Sunnyside Christian High School grad had been on stage before.
Fennell's pageant history dates back to when she served on the 2002-03 Miss Sunnyside Court. She has since been in 2005 third runner-up at the Miss Tri-Cities pageant, in 2006 second runner-up in the same pageant, crowned Miss Spokane 2008 and again competed in the Miss Tri-Cities 2009 pageant.
The youngest of the Lower Valley girls to take to the stage in the program was Alyssa Lara of Grandview. The six-year-old was one of 13 youngsters crowned Apple Blossom Princess.
Avalon Valencia of Sunnyside was first runner-up to Fennell. She demonstrated expertise in the field of dance and her platform was "Be the Match," the campaign for Inland Northwest Blood Center's bone marrow donor registry.
When interviewed, she told the audience she would "take a nap" if she had 30 minutes to do anything she wanted.
Valencia was also the winner of the People's Choice award, which was determined by the amount of cash dropped into a bucket with her name on it during a "Dash for Cash."
Joscelyn Martinez of Sunnyside was second runner-up and winner of the Miss Yakima County's Outstanding Teen 2010 Miss Congeniality award.
Her platform was hospice, and the young woman shared she would like to take the seven-week training course required to help patients in hospice.
When asked if parents should control teen use of the internet, Martinez responded, "No. I love the internet." The response elicited laughter from the audience members.
Her talent was a French vocal performance that pleased the audience.
Melinda Trujillo of Yakima, younger sister of Miss Yakima County 2009, earned the Miss Yakima County's Outstanding Teen 2010 crown.
Rebeca Barrios, former Miss Sunnyside Court member, was the named third runner-up in the Miss Yakima County contest.
She performed a dance routine to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," a 1940s classic hit made popular by the Andrews Sisters.
Barrios chose Cuddle Up and Care as her platform. She feels it is important to care for those suffering from domestic abuse and when asked about low-achieving schools said, "I think we need to look beyond the schools to the community."
She said there are numerous problems plaguing the community that must be addressed to give students perspective on the value of an education.