Meridian Star

Features

July 21, 2007

Forty-three high school seniors vie for Mississippi Junior Miss title

It’s that time of year again.

The time when some of the state’s most intelligent and talented senior high school girls descend on the city for a week of grueling early morning-to-afternoon rehearsals (often accompanied by sore muscles), quick lunches, fun-filled parties and activities, judges’ interviews ... And most of all, the beginning of what many consider lifelong friendships.

Yes, it’s Mississippi Junior Miss time. And this year, 43 candidates from across the state will vie for the coveted title.

The excitement kicks off today with the contenders arrival at Quality Inn. After registration and orientation, the girls will say “good-bye” to their parents and other family members and “hello” to the people they will reside with during the week of competition — also known as host families.

“We really excited about this year’s program,” said State Chairman Hampton Thames.

And with reason. This year welcomes two new local programs — Harrison County and Covington County. Not bad for a program that ended two years ago, only to be revived a year later.

“We (Mississippi Junior Miss) never really experienced any flux,” said Thames, referring to the declining participation some state Junior Miss programs experienced.

“And I credit that to our strong local base, who were willing to go on alone with Junior Miss,” he said. “And now we’re up two programs. We’ve been extremely blessed over the last eight years or so in that our local programs base has grown from 31 to 40.”

“Junior Miss Fiesta” is the theme for this year’s Mississippi Junior Miss Program and will feature salsa music and other Mexican themes. Choreography will once again be coordinated by local dance instructor Suzie McCraw.

The 2008 Mississippi Junior Miss candidates are:

• Chelsea Chaelynn James, Choctaw County’s Junior Miss. Chelsea is the 17-year-old daughter of Daniel and Heather James. The Ackerman High School senior plans to pursue a career as a dietitian at Mississippi State University. For her talent, Chelsea will sing.

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