Neighbor: Grice gets shot at Miss Alabama

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 16, 2000

Features Editor

June 15, 2000 10 PM

If you believe in yourself and keep working toward your goals, good things will come your way.

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The good things might not always be the thing you had hoped for but it will be something good.

Jana Grice had hoped to one day be a participant in the Miss Alabama

Pageant. She had worked for it and she has come close.

The Miss Troy State Pageant is a preliminary event for Miss Alabama and Jana

had come in third, second and first.

"I started wondering what’s wrong with me that I can’t win this thing," she said, laughing.

She had almost give up her dream when she learned that a new preliminary pageant for Miss Alabama had been organized and it was an open competition. Jana decided to enter the Miss Greater Dothan 2000 Pageant.

"This was going to be my last try," she said. "I decided I was going to have a good time and not worry about it. There was no pressure on me to win. My mom went with me and she was my only fan in the audience."

When the night was over, Jana and her mom Laura celebrated. Jana had reached her goal. Her dream of participating in the Miss Alabama Pageant was coming true.

Jana is in Birmingham this week to participate in the Miss Alabama 2000 pageant June 14-17.

Her attitude going into the Miss Alabama Pageant is to go, have a good time and let the cards fall where they may.

If she wins great, if she doesn’t that’s okay, too. It will have been an experience of a lifetime and that’s good enough for her.

And, she decided while she’s there having a good time, why not have a really good time?

Jana is a very talented violinist and she considered playing one of her favorite classical pieces in the talent portion of the competition but then she decided to do some different.

"Almost every time anyone hears that I play the violin they ask if I play ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ and I’ve had to say no," she said.

"So I decided to learn the song and I had so much fun with it that I thought an audience would enjoy it, too."

So, Miss Greater Dothan 2000 will ditch the violin for the fiddle and play a "gypsy piece" as her talent in the Miss Alabama Pageant.

"It’s not an easy piece to learn but it’s a lot of fun to play," she said.

Her talent will give the judges an opportunity to see the fun side of Jana Grice, the 10-minute interview will give them some insight as to who she is.

To prepare for the interview, Jana has kept up with news on television and by reading newspapers.

"Especially women’s issues," she said. "I think I am prepared for that part of the interview because I have done my homework. I know

I am prepared to answer questions about my platform because I am so committed to it."

Jana’s platform is "Reach and Succeed Through the Arts."

"I chose the arts as my platform because I have seen in my own life how the arts can change lives," she said. "At the age of five, I was very shy and introverted. My mother, who is a talented musician, asked me if I would be interested in taking violin lessons. There was a strong Suzuki violin school in my hometown of Dayton, Ohio and, weekly violin lessons and theory classes were soon part of my life."

A couple of years later, a school art project injected a passion for art into Jana’s life.

"The arts were making school so much fun," she said. "They were gradually becoming a big part of my everyday life. I couldn’t get enough of playing the violin, drawing and painting."

Today, at age 23, Jana

is excited to talk about the blessings the arts have brought to her life and the benefits they offer to others.

"Research has proven that a strong arts foundation builds creativity, concentration, problem solving skills, self-efficacy, coordination and self-discipline," she said. "The arts can improve the quality of life for everyone. They certainly have mine."

Using her own artistic abilities, Jana has designed, illustrated and published her own coloring and learning book for children titled You Can Do Anything.

"I hope it will inspire children to open their creative minds and discover what artistic dreams they might have," she said. "The arts have helped me fulfill some of

my dreams and one of those was to participate in the Miss Alabama pageant. I kept believing in my dream and working toward it. I hope I can inspire children to do the same."