Merced County Times Newspaper
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El Capitan to host Miss Merced County competition

The current court formed during last year’s competition includes Miss Sierra Nevada, Shalei Heflin; Miss Yosemite Valley, Audrey Showen; Miss Merced County, Gaby Muro; and Miss Merced County's Outstanding Teen, Jillian Stewart.
The current court formed during last year’s competition includes Miss Sierra Nevada, Shalei Heflin; Miss Yosemite Valley, Audrey Showen; Miss Merced County, Gaby Muro; and Miss Merced County’s Outstanding Teen, Jillian Stewart.

Miss Merced County and Miss Merced County’s Outstanding Teen will be crowned at the annual competition at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16 at El Capitan High School Theatre.

There are five candidates for Miss Merced County and 10 for Outstanding Teen.

The competition provides young women with an opportunity to further their personal and professional goals and instills a spirit of community service through a variety of unique national and community-based programs. It also provides scholarship money ranging from $150 to $750.

Candidates compete in both private and on-stage interviews; talent; evening wear/social impact initiative and physical fitness. The score for the competition is broken down among these categories, with the interviews counting for 40 percent of the total score.

Candidates for Miss Merced County must be between the ages of 17-25 and live, attend school, or work in Merced, Mariposa or Stanislaus counties or attend UC Merced, Merced College, California State University, Stanislaus, or Modesto Junior College. Candidates for Miss Merced County’s Outstanding Teen can come from any location in California and be between the ages of 13 and 17 and less than a senior in high school.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For tickets, call (209) 261-9363.

Michelle Symes-Thiara and Wendy Ekizian are co-executive directors for the program and have seen how young women benefit from the competition.

“Wendy and I have been volunteering for the Miss Merced County Program for more than 22 years and what brings us back every year is the growth we see in the young ladies,” Symes-Thiara said. “They learn to be more confident, poised and can stand in front of six adults and successfully have a 10-minute interview.”

There are multiple levels of sponsorship for the non-profit organization from $50 to $1,000. Organizations and individuals interested in supporting the program can contact Michelle Symes-Thiara at 209-564-2690.

Learn more about Miss Merced County online at: missmercedcounty.org.

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