The Miss Newton High School pageant has returned to Newton High School, and a new Miss NHS was crowned at Wednesday night’s pageant ceremony.
Kayla Aaron won the title of 2013 Miss NHS after competing with eight other contestants who high-heeled their way across the Newton auditorium stage with a smile. McKenzie Phillips was awarded first runner-up, and Ja’Lynn Weaver was named second runner-up.
Each young lady presented herself with dignity, demonstrated her talent, and discussed her platform in front of judges and an audience.
Aaron, who has participated in cheerleading at NHS and made a run for this year’s homecoming court, explained that she wanted everyone to know about the damages of drug abuse.
“Drug abuse can tear apart families, and you do not want to see that happen” she said. “If you have a problem, the first step is always admitting it. I want to get it out there that you can make a change and you can turn your life around.”
Aaron said her future goals include attending Paul Mitchell beauty school, gaining a degree in business and eventually opening her own salon. She said she felt “proud and honored” to represent both Newton High and the community.
Newton High teachers and pageant organizers LeAnn Morris and Akeelah McTier explained that the return of the Miss Newton High pageant was important because it was a chance for students to shine.
McTier said that last year Morris had a very detailed plan for putting on the pageant, but that lack of interest from students combined with lack of sponsorships put the pageant on hold.
But this year, McTier said, she and Morris were determined the pageant would happen and be a success.
“We had talent. We had cheer dances, liturgical dance, singing — one young lady played the guitar — and poems,” McTier said. “We had a broad spectrum of girls. We wanted to make sure everyone participated.”
McTier said that Principal Eclan David gave the welcome at the event and former NHS principal Craig Lockhart, deputy superintendent of schools, provided inspirational words. McTier said the auditorium was decorated with donations from teachers’ homes and that the whole night was really special.
Morris said it meant everything to finally have the pageant back.
“I watched the contestant’s blossom before my eyes. This pageant meant so much to one young lady in particular. She had never dreamed of being in a pageant, and to watch her evolve was absolutely amazing,” Morris said. “Behind closed doors, nobody knows what students go through when they go home.
“This experience was priceless. Anytime we can provide students with opportunities to develop new skills and challenge them to reach beyond their expectations, we have accomplished something.”
Morris said the school would like to provide more young ladies with opportunities to participate in future pageants.
She added that sponsorships are needed to expand the program to include community service projects, leadership training, pageantry boot-camp and scholarships.
“We really need the support of this community to provide opportunities for creating and molding students into the leaders of tomorrow,” Morris said.
McTier said that, as 2013 Miss NHS, Aaron will participate in community service projects such as speaking at elementary and middle schools as well as serving as a school leader who will welcome visitors to the NHS campus. She added that Aaron was very poised and displayed great intellect in her interviews. McTier said that skill makes Aaron a great representative of Newton High School.