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Letter to the editor: Community support made 2014 Miss Dowagiac a success

Published 8:05am Thursday, March 20, 2014

As directors of the Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant and on behalf of its Executive Committee, we would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, who sponsor the pageant, and to The Pokagon Fund for helping underwrite the 75th annual event on Feb. 22, 2014.

We would also like to thank our corporate advertisers and the gift sponsors, who generously contributed to the pageant, as well as Brian DeLong, of The Business Center of Southwestern Michigan, who provides in-kind float storage.

As a long-standing event in our community, pageant officials in 2000 were pleased to take our program to new heights, as scholarships were awarded for the first time to that year’s Queen, and to the 1st and 2nd runners-up. During the past 14 years, $39,150 in scholarships have been awarded.  The 58 recipients represent 21 colleges, with approximately 40 percent of the scholarships having been used at Southwestern Michigan College. This year’s event awarded $6,000 in educational scholarships to our Miss Dowagiac Court of Honor, thanks to donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations. A special thanks to Deb Cuthbert, a long-time Executive Committee member and pageant chairman in the 1980s, and her daughter, Abby Cuthbert Johnson, Miss Dowagiac 1998, who oversee the annual scholarship fundraising campaign.

This year, the pageant celebrated its 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary. The teamwork of approximately 45 volunteers produced this year’s event. We would like to extend our appreciation to you: Abby Johnson, Joe “Jason” Urbanksi, Nicholas Bogen, Aaron Adams, Lucas Petro, Kellie Prak, Kyle Dufour, Rose Middleton, Keera Morton, Katie Key, Gary Booth, Bobbie Jo Hartline, Phyllis Sarabyn, Seth Livingston,  Richard Behnke, Jim Dodd,  Randy Gross, Jeff Winters, Bob Barney, Jim Kusa, Ryan Murray, Kim Robison, Ashley Franklin, Erica Greenwood, Kim Greenwood, Hope Daniel, Gabrielle Dorman, Beth Klug, Cindy Underwood, Sharon Underwood, Bonnie Ferrier, Norma Greenman, Janie Reifenberg, Bev Dodd, Scott Rose, and the Zeta Chi sorority.

We would also like to thank the businesses who volunteered with the pageant: Booth’s Country Florist, Imperial Furniture, Dowagiac Police Department, Dowagiac Cleaners, Studio 690, Honor Credit Union, Leader Publications, Dowagiac Conservation Club, Preferred Printing, Dowagiac City Hall, Manor Mini-Mart, D&R Sports, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

Thank you to Steve Arseneau, of the Dowagiac Area History Museum, for displaying pageant memorabilia for our 75th Diamond Jubilee anniversary celebration. We would also like to thank Kim MacGregor’s office of Edward Jones for their help with the museum reception.

A special thank you to the pageant’s Executive Committee: Vickie Phillipson, Nancy Vylonis, Tracy Urbanski, Patty Booth, and Deb Cuthbert. All of your hard work and dedication is essential to the pageant’s success. Thank you so much for everything you did to make our 75th anniversary so special. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of young women to work with.

We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of contestants. All of you have grown so much in this experience and we know each and every one of you will continue on to have bright and successful futures. Good luck and thank you for making this year so special for us!

The 2013 Miss Dowagiac Court of Honor has done an outstanding job representing this community throughout their reign.  Amanda, Gabby, Katelyn and Brittany, we are so proud of the confident and successful young women you have become.  Good luck to you in all of your future endeavors.

To Mackenzie Whitmyer, Miss Dowagiac 2014; Mackenzie Ruff, 1st runner-up; Paige Charles, 2nd runner-up and Isabel Vazquez, Miss Congeniality: We are so excited to spend this next year with you.  We are confident you will do an amazing job representing Dowagiac. All of you have worked so hard and deserve the titles you have earned. Congratulations!


Courtney Livingston

Miss Dowagiac 

Scholarship Pageant 


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