A shining moment

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Hundreds of family member, friends, teachers and well wishers turned out to cheer on their favorites as nine outstanding young high school seniors took center stage at the Greenville High School Auditorium last Saturday night. After weeks of rehearsal, the night the nine had been awaiting had arrived.

Amy Arthur, Megan Brooks, Tiffany Burkett, Salley Burkett, Elizabeth Cauthen, Jehle Foster, Madison Norrell, Savannah Stacey and Hope Stanford vied for nearly $6,000 in scholarship monies provided by local corporate and individual sponsors.

Production Manager April Smith and fellow members of The Camellia City Junior Woman’s Club worked behind the scenes to keep the show on the road as the curtain rose on &uot;Junior Miss Has Boogie Fever&uot;.

Nine winners, one medallion

Each participant had already been through a personal interview with the panel of seasoned Junior Miss evaluators; each girl’s scholastic performance had been ranked by a South University independent panel.

That evening the nine dynamic young women would further impress the crowd and team of evaluators with their skills in self-expression, fitness and talent in a fast-paced and often grueling program that was no ‘walk in the park.’ Few would argue with the idea all these young women were winners.

But only one of the nine would be able to take home the prized medallion and the chance to go on to Montgomery in December to represent Butler County at Alabama’s Junior Miss State Finals – a tough decision for the team of evaluators.

It would be Fort Dale Academy’s Salley Burkett, daughter of Ellen and Ronald Burkett of Greenville, who took home the $3,000 cash scholarship and the title of Butler County’s Junior Miss 2005. Burkett also received the L.V. Stabler Scholarship and Unicel Self-Expression Awards, each providing an additional $100 in cash awards.

Burkett, who has studied dance for nearly fifteen years, gracefully performed a selection from the classical ballet, &uot;Sleeping Beauty&uot;.

A clean sweep

Fort Dale Academy would sweep the three top spots Saturday evening with two of Burkett’s classmates taking home an additional $2,000-plus in scholarship monies.

Madison Norrell received a $750 cash scholarship as Second Alternate, with First Alternate Elizabeth Cauthen taking home a $1,500 cash scholarship.

Cauthen, daughter of Randall and Vivian Cauthen, received ‘The Greenville Advocate’ Be Your Best Self Award and an accompanying cash award of $100. Cauthen was also honored with the coveted Spirit of Junior Miss Award, voted on by her fellow participants.

She ably performed the 60s instrumental pop classic &uot;Classical Gas&uot; on the guitar for her talent presentation.

Norrell, daughter of Melissa and David Norrell, won the First Lowndes Bank Talent Award with an acapella performance of &uot;Somewhere Over the Rainbow&uot; that beautifully captured the poignancy of the classic Garland tune.

Other winners included Greenville High School’s Savannah Stacey, daughter of Ralph and Angel Stacey, who took home the Signature Page Award, and Stacey’s classmate, Megan Brooks, daughter of Jimmy and June Brooks, who received the FOP Fitness Award. Each girl also received a $100 cash prize.

A disco night to remember

The 1970s-era ‘Boogie Fever’ theme had these 21st century teens in its grip as the participants and their ‘Little Sisters’ (Mallory Lee, Lacey Norrell, Audrea Poole, Maryanne Hancock, Tiffany Owens, Jateum Perryman, Terrell Brannon, Frances Watts and Trawick Smith), first took to the stage in sparkling dancewear, moving to the pounding disco beat of the Bee Gee’s &uot;Stayin’ Alive.&uot;

These disco queens were ably assisted by four &uot;disco kings&uot;: Christopher Slagley, Carson Moseley, Stephen Matthews and Brent Paide.

Art Douglas of Montgomery, retired USAF colonel, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening.

The 2002 Butler County Junior Miss, Lauren Williams Smith, served as assistant choreographer and provided a pair of high-energy clogging performances as part of the evening’s entertainment. She also presented new Junior Miss Burkett and her alternates with their awards, standing in for 2004 Junior Miss Cile Martin (who was unable to attend this year’s ceremonies due to a scheduling conflict).

&uot;Oh, this was fun, I loved doing it,&uot; a tired but still bubbly Smith said following Saturday night’s program. Vocalist Sabrina Snell Reynolds also provided entertainment for the evening, getting the crowd on their feet and clapping to the beat of her soulful performance of the Bill Withers classic, &uot;I Can See Clearly Now.&uot;

CCJWC’s Carol Lee gave a special word of thanks from the stage to April Smith for &uot;putting it all together and making it work.&uot;

Later Lee expressed her pleasure with the well-attended production. &uot;I thought it was great…I was really pleased with the size of the crowd, considering we had a big football game as competition.&uot;

Lee gave all the nine young women a &uot;thumbs up&uot; for their outstanding performances during Saturday night’s competition, saying,&uot;I was really, really proud of all the girls – and I know Salley will make a great Junior Miss.&uot;

The evening’s funky retro theme seemed to strike the right chord with both audience and those on stage.

&uot;I really enjoyed our theme this year – I guess it took me back to my own youthful days,&uot; said Lori Cummings, choreographer for the program. Having slipped her disco heels off after a long day of preparation, Cummings gazed up with a smile and agreed it had been a &uot;good show.&uot;

&uot;I am very proud of all the girls…you know, this really is a tough program,&uot; Cummings stressed.