Pike Co. Junior Miss prepares

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2001

for state finals in Montgomery


Features Editor

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Aryanez Alburquerque is far more comfortable "hiding in the background" than she is in the spotlight, but when she takes center stage at the Alabama Junior Miss Program in Montgomery Jan. 19 and 20, she hopes she will have found her comfort zone.

As Pike County Junior Miss, Aryanez has had opportunities to be in the public eye and that has helped her get a feel for the "stage."

"Oh, yes, I’ll be nervous, but I hope the week of activities and practices will help me to get over being nervous," she said, laughing. "I certainly don’t want to freeze up on stage."

Aryanez will join 55 other Junior Miss contestants from across the state in Montgomery Jan. 12, as they begin the whirlwind schedule that will conclude with the naming of the Alabama Junior Miss 2001 at the Montgomery Civic Center Jan. 20.

Probably all 56 of them will have butterflies when they take the stage for the first and second preliminary events leading up to that final moment.

"I’m working hard to prepare myself mentally for thefor the competition," Aryanez said. "Being mentally prepared is the biggest challenge."

The young women will be judged on talent, fitness, poise, scholarship, a written essay and a personal interview, which counts 45 percent of the total score.

Because the interview is the most heavily weighed part of the competition, Aryanez said she is spending a lot of time preparing for it.

"I’m trying to keep up with current events, especially the presidential developments," she said. "I’m also learning all I can about state and local politics. I don’t know what I’ll be asked in the interview, so I’ll trying to be up on everything."

Aryanez said she is looking forward to getting to know the other Junior Miss contestants and to all of the activities planned for them.

"We met for orientation Dec. 2 and I met my host family, Donald and Charlotte Hall, and my roommate, Leah Armstrong from St. Clair County. They are very nice and I’m sure I will enjoy spending time with them. Having met the other girls, I already know the competition is going to be tough – but also a lot of fun."

The young women will have little time to spare. In addition to rehearsals, they will attend luncheons and dinners with different civic organizations and visit sites around the city.

"One night there will be a dinner party with our host-dads and that should be a lot of fun," Aryanez said. "Our ‘Be Your Best Self’ essays, along with our pictures, will be displayed at Montgomery Mall during the week, so that people will have an opportunity to learn something about us."

While the city of Montgomery is being introduced to 56 of Alabama’s most outstanding high school senior girls, the young women will be focusing on the preliminary events of the Alabama Junior Miss Program, which offers opportunities for $40,600 in cash tuition scholarships.

Aryanez said scholarship money is awarded to finalists and preliminary winners.

"The Junior Miss Program is an opportunity for scholarships, and I would feel very fortunate to receive assistance for college," she said. "Every competition is important because it counts toward your score and it is also an opportunity for a scholarship."

The first preliminary is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19 at the Montgomery Civic Center. The young women are divided into four groups. Two groups will compete in the talent division and two in fitness and poise.

Aryanez has chosen a piano piece, which is more involved than the piece she played in the Pike County Junior Miss Program.

"It requires that I play with more feeling and more emotion," she said. "And, because it is Spanish, it will represent me well."

The second preliminary is at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, and the groups will switch competitions.

Finals of the Alabama Junior Miss Program are at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20. The slates will be wiped clean for the top eight finalists and they will "start from scratch" as they vie for the title of Alabama Junior Miss.

Aryanez is a senior at Charles Henderson High School. She is the daughter of Anin and Manuel Alburquerque of Troy.

Junior Miss is a nation-wide scholarship program that rewards, recognizes and encourages excellence while promoting the self-esteem of young women.

The Alabama Junior Miss will compete in the America’s Junior Miss Program, which will be held in Mobile in June. The national program is televised on TNN.

To purchase tickets for the Alabama Junior Miss Program call (334) 396-5225.