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High school club hosts Miss Dawson County pageants
Laney Taylor (Miss Dawson County), Jaida Everett (1st runner-up), Roni Barefield (2nd runner-up and People's Choice), Kelci Folsom (3rd runner-up), Carah Matheson (4th runner-up). Photos courtesy of Lori Grant.

The Dawson County High School Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) club, along with Dawson County High School engineering classes, hosted the annual Miss Dawson County pageants on Jan. 23, 2021. 

Lori Grant, FCCLA advisor at DCHS, said that the pageant has been an annual occurrence since as far back as she can remember. 

“I can remember when I was in elementary school it was very built up by then, so that would have been in the early 80s, so it’s been going on for a long time,” Grant said. “I don’t know exactly when it was started, but it’s kind of been a tradition in our county.” 

Grant said that the school band had put on the pageant in previous years, but in the 2019-20 school year her club took it over. 

“Another club was doing it but they wanted someone else to take it, so that was when I took over and I asked the engineering teacher to help me because he can do set design and stuff like that,” Grant said. 

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The money raised in the pageant goes to benefit the students in the FCCLA club by paying fees to compete in competitions and other activities that will enhance their college applications. 

“The students can compete in competitions and we use that money from the pageant to compete and gain a lot of leadership skills and life skills,” Grant said. “And that way they don’t have to worry about preparing for the competition and paying for it too because that covers paying for it.” 

The pageant was open to Dawson County residents from preschool to 12th grade, both girls and boys, although according to Grant there haven't been any boys yet who are interested in participating. This year, there were just over 30 total participants, which was more than last year’s pageant. 

“We’re trying to build it back up — we had a few more this year than last year which I was really surprised about with COVID,” Grant said. “So we weren’t sure if it would be a success or not, but we doubled the amount we made this year from last year.”

According to Grant, the pageant was run completely by volunteers from her club and the engineering classes and was the outcome of a lot of hard work, both on the part of the volunteers and of the girls who participated in the pageant.

“The kids have fun with it, and a lot of the kids who worked the pageant last year couldn’t wait to do it again this year,” Grant said. “And the girls in the pageant work really hard to practice their walk-in, how to be poised and groom themselves really well; and it takes a lot of guts to get up there on that stage.”

Grant said that she and the rest of the pageant volunteers were very pleased with the outcome of the pageant, and that they hope to see it continue growing and getting bigger in the future. 

“We would like to see the numbers grow, but it’s filled in and the people coming to watch has filled in, so that just means that more people will come next year because of word of mouth,” Grant said.