It was a night of laughter and tears, of respect, pride and even surprise, as Leigh-Anna Jones was crowned the first-ever Miss Teen Haida Gwaii in front of a packed community hall in Masset Saturday night (June 7).
Leigh-Anna, a grade 8 student at G.M. Dawson school, won the title after being judged on a variety of items, including essay-writing, work experience, volunteerism, school marks, and stage presence. As part of the show, Leigh-Anna also performed her talent piece Saturday night, singing Sarah McLaughlin’s “I Will Remember You” with no accompaniment.
Leigh-Anna said she was completely shocked when the judges announced at the end of the evening that she had won. She was handed a bouquet of a dozen roses, a crown was placed on her head, and the audience erupted with applause.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
One of the pageant organizers, Shirley Kricheldorf, described the new Miss Teen Haida Gwaii as “down to earth and absolutely wonderful.” She added that Leigh-Anna’s singing talent took even members of her own family by surprise.
“People were going, ‘who knew Leigh-Anna could sing?'” she said. “She was so good, it gave us chills, honest-to-goodness chills.”
Leigh-Anna also won the Miss Teen Haida Gwaii Fundraiser award for raising the most money, and the Miss Friendship award, chosen by the delegates themselves.
Stephanie Beachy was crowned the first runner-up, and Kylie Thorgeirson was crowned second runner-up. Several other awards were also handed out, with Pam White winning the Miss Talent award for her weaving, Rowen Bellamy winning the Miss Photogenic award, Stephanie Beachy winning the Miss Fitness award, and Jennifer Sheppard winning the Miss Cooperative award.
Judges were Brad Setso, Kimiko von Boetticher and Janet Brown.
Miss Kricheldorf said the pageant, which took many months to organize, turned out “unbelievably fantastic”. There was standing room only in the community hall Saturday night as friends and family turned out to support the nine contestants.
“Lots of youth turned out,” she said. “The audience ran the gamut from young to old… People laughed, hooted, hollered and yelled.”
The new Miss Teen Haida Gwaii, the runners-up, and the other pageant participants are available for appearances at parades, ribbon-cuttings and other events on the islands, Ms Kricheldorf said. All nine have already been booked to appear at Masset’s Faux Paw fashion show in August.
A loonie auction held at the pageant raised $1,200, which Ms Kricheldorf said will help send Leigh-Anna to Vancouver, where she will compete in the Miss Teen British Columbia pageant July 6. However, much more fundraising needs to be done and more donations are welcome. Leigh-Anna is also heading to Vancouver June 17 for a pre-pageant gala dinner and to start learning the dance number which the Miss Teen BC contestants will perform.
Videos of Saturday’s pageant are available for $10 – call Ms Kricheldorf at 626-3955 or Cecile Pages at 626-3868 to order. The organizers are also looking for copies of pictures taken at the event, either digital or regular, as they would like to put together a package for each of the girls and didn’t have an official photographer there.
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