Neighbor: Local Jr. Miss

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 11, 2000

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August 10, 2000 10 p.m.

Since she was named Pike County Junior Miss 2000-2001 Saturday night, Aryanez Alburquerque has been showered with congratulations, and knowing the Pike County community is behind her has given her the confidence boost she needed.

"Some of my friends tell me that I don’t have enough confidence in myself and they are probably right," Aryanez said, with a smile. "But being named Pike County Junior Miss has already helped in that respect."

Aryanez is not a regular on the pageant circuit. In fact, her only appearance in such a competition was in the Miss Troy Pageant 2000. But she thought entering the Miss Troy Pageant and the Pike County Junior Miss Program would give her an opportunity to present herself before others and participate in an interview process that would benefit her has she moves from high school to college and then into the work force.

"I didn’t really think I would win," she said. "I was surprised – but very excited and honored."

Being Pike County Junior Miss will be an opportunity for Aryanez to learn more about, not just her hometown of Troy, but her home county.

She, her parents, Manny and Anin, and sister, Rayne, moved to Troy from Orlando when Aryanez was in the fifth grade and the move was a "culture shock" for her.

"I’d always lived in a big city and coming to Troy was a big change for me," she said. "But I soon learned to love a small town where everyone is like family. I know that has become a cliche, but Troy is a real close community where everybody knows everybody and people really care about each other."

Aryanez said she will have little trouble singing the praises of Troy because she is involved in so many aspects of school and community life. However, she did admit that she has a lot to learn about the county.

"I’m going to represent Pike County so I want to know as much about it as I can," she said. "I want to visit the other towns and communities and get to know about them and let the people out there get to know me."

Aryanez said the recently established academies, that are joint efforts of the Troy City and Pike County school systems, will do much to bring the students together and help them learn about each other and the communities where they live.

"There are a lot of exciting things going on in Pike County and I’m looking forward to being a part of them," she said.

Aryanez’s senior year at Charles Henderson High School, will be a full one. She plays flute and piccolo in the high school band. She is a member of the Key Club, Spanish Club, Mu Alpha Theta and the National Honor Society. Her goals are to "improve" on a 3.9 GPA and become more fluent in Spanish, which will be her major in college.

"I would like to attend college in New Mexico because I like the Western feel of it and that’s also the home of many of my ancestors," she said, explaining why the spelling of her family’s name is different from the city of Albuquerque. "The legend is that a man who was painting the town’s name on a sign at the railroad station misspelled it and didn’t want to have to change it, so it stuck."

If Alburquerque doesn’t go to Albuquerque, she would like to attend the University of Central Florida in Orlando where she has family and friends. But all of that is in the future. What is close at hand, is representing Pike County as its Junior Miss.

"I’m an encouraged by the support I have received and I want to thank everyone who has offered their congratulations," Aryanez said. "I am looking forward to all of the opportunities and experiences that will come from being Pike County Junior Miss and I will do my best to be the best representative I can be."