The scent of hairspray and the clacking of high heels filled the air beside the stage entrance in the new Effingham County Middle School gym/auditorium as contestants in the 2010 Miss ECMS Pageant lined up Saturday evening to find out who would make the top 10.
Decked out in a white satin floor length formal gown and black satin gloves all the way up to her elbows, sixth-grader Arial Bowman, 12, said she was kind of nervous about the pageant.
“Because this is my first pageant and it’s like a big thing for me. So it’s kind of scary,” said Bowman.
Taylor Walker, 13, seventh grade, looked as elegant in her long, shiny, carmine pink gown with silver sequin embellishments.
“I think it’s really fun, and I just enjoy doing it. I’m not really nervous,” Walker said.
The theme this year was “Under the Sea,” and featured Little Mermaid decor. The 17 contestants rehearsed all week for the pageant and had just finished the casual and formal wear sections of the competition as they took their places on the stage and Mistress of Ceremonies, Miss ECHS 2009, Emily Woods, announced the judges top 10, which for the first time in Miss ECMS history became the top 11 with a tie for the last slot.
The lucky girls who moved on to the interview section were: Taylor Howze, 12, Shelby Carpenter, 12, Heidi Campbell, 11, Arial Bowman, Madyson Howell,12, Hannah Rahn, 14, Carli Royal, 12, Madison Shanks, 12, Taylor Walker, Shelby Wilson,12, and Eliza Youmans,, 13.
After each of the 11 girls answered questions like, what would you change about ECMS and why do you want to be Miss ECMS, they waited backstage as Mindi Worley performed Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey” and for the 2009 reigning queen, Mallory Ansel, to complete her farewell. Then all the contestants took their places again to find out the winners, as parents, friends and family members waited anxiously to hear the results.
The audience voted for Most Photogenic by donating $1 per vote. This went to Megan Bland. Highest GPA was Shelby Wilson. The contestants voted for Miss Spirit of ECMS, which went to Eliza Youmans. There was a tie for Fourth Runner-Up, going to Carli Royal and Shelby Carpenter. Third Runner-Up was Shelby Wilson and Second Runner-Up was Arial Bowman. First Runner-Up was Madison Shanks.
But the winner of the Miss ECMS 2010 title was a surprised and excited Hannah Rahn.
Rahn’s parents, Dana and Tony Rahn, said they were nervous for her the whole time.
“She wanted to be the first queen of the new school and now she is. That’s all she ever wanted so,” said Dana Rahn.
Rahn also won Best Casual and Best Formal Wear in the pageant. Judges were Stanley Sinkfield, Melissa Waters and Hannah Youngblood. Dancers from the Coastal Performing Arts Academy performed numbers between sections of the pageant. Emily Woods served as choreographer for the event in addition to her duties as emcee.