We refer, of course, to Tullahoma Junior Miss Sarah Kathryn Brock who Saturday night earned the new, and prestigious, title of 2011 Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee, which is the new name for what has been recognized for years as Tennessee Junior Miss.
And then, weren’t they all lovely?
Sarah was, is and will be a true inspiration. But the other 21 Junior Miss contestants who have graced our Cleveland community for the past week were equally as lovely, wonderful and passionate about their special causes. Too, each was a splendid ambassador for her community, family, school and for all who offered a gentle touch in her upbringing.
For the second year, Cleveland and Bradley County hosted the Tennessee Junior Miss Scholarship Program. Obviously, our newspaper stakes no claim to objectivity in making this statement, but ... what finer city in Tennessee to host it? We are proud of our town, now more than 40,000-strong, and of our county, somewhere around 100,000 ... and we are equally as happy to have been selected again to host this marvelous event.
For those who weren’t on hand for Friday night’s Junior Miss Preliminaries and Saturday night’s Finals in Lee University’s Dixon Center, you missed a golden opportunity to see what’s right with today’s young people. Twenty-two young Misses, each hailing from a different part of our glorious state, gave it their very best whether in talent, interviewing, fitness, scholastic, self-expression or even just in radiating some of that good ol’ fashioned Southern charm.
Our deepest congratulations to Sarah as she begins her year-long reign, but also to each of this year’s contestants who were the epitome of elegance, community spirit, conscience and good nature. This includes our very own Cleveland Junior Miss Devon Nicole Vaughn, who represented us impressively.
Ladies, you are all divine!
As the reigning Junior Miss ... excuse us, Distinguished Young Woman ... Sarah is the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship to the college of her choice. She received an additional $1,000 in scholarships for receiving the “Overall Interview” and “Overall Talent” categories.
The “Alternate” winner was Soddy Daisy Junior Miss Kaylee Ann Disterdick, recipient of a $2,000 scholarship. She also received $1,000 in additional scholarships as winner of the “Overall Fitness” and “Overall Self-Expression” awards. Rhea County Junior Miss Caylee Grace Cochran earned a $500 scholarship for winning the “Spirit of Junior Miss” award.
Making an event of this magnitude successful takes the dedication and hard work of an entire village. This includes the efforts of host families, sponsors and leaders like co-chairs Charles and Traci Dunn Fant, as well as so many others who were instrumental the program’s development.
Special thanks to this year’s host families, a few of whom our readers met during the past week in the team coverage provided by our newspaper: James and Beverly Dunn, Gary and Pat Fuller, Al and Cheryl Clark, Blake and Heather Sims, Eric and Karen Light, Robert and Ramona Thompson, Dr. John and Sheryl Jaggers, Don and Suzy Sims, Mark and Sallie Brooks, Steve and Terie Kirkpatrick, Alan and Robin Burdine, Charles and Traci Fant, and Jason and Arlyne VanHook.
We would be remiss in leaving out the invaluable sponsors: Mayor Tom and Sandra Rowland, Tom and Sandy Jenkins, Mountain View Inn, Perry’s Petals, Jack’s Kleen Rite, Lee University, Life Care Centers of America, The Spot, Bob and Cheryl Edson, Fancy Fannies, C&A Charters, Steve and Kim Whittler, Cleveland Daily Banner, Nan and Mike Jenne, David Lane Photography, Brenda Hunley, Pat Longwith, Quiznos, Mountain Laurel Studios, Don Ledford Auto Park, Chili’s, Oliver’s, Countryside Cafe and Jim Ball Designs.
All should take a bow. Each has earned the right.
Thank you, Junior Misses.
And the very best of luck to this 53-year-old program as it enters its new dimension as “Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee!”