Cornelius earns 2004 crown
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Judges chose a 17-year-old Niles High School girl as Miss Niles-Brandywine 2004 at the annual contest on Saturday.
Jessica Christine Cornelius, whose parents are Isaiah and Diana, was the successful winner out of 14 contestants from Niles and Brandywine high schools.
The well-attended beauty pageant was held at the Niles High School auditorium.
During the show, themed "Hometown Heroes," the contestants together performed a dance before twice entering the stage in their evening gowns.
The five finalists had to answer one question each from Bill Lewis, event MC, before the judges made their final decision.
Judges also used a seven-minute interview with each contestant prior to the contest when deciding on a winner.
Set against a black back drop, the American flag and a copy of the Statue of Liberty, Cornelius answered her question: "If you could change place with someone, who would you change with, and why?"
Cornelius, who entered the pageant in honor of her grandmother who passed away a year ago, said has always hoped she would one day be crowned Miss Niles/Brandywine.
Asked whether she was surprised of her win, she said: "Yes, I guess you could say that."
However, Cornelius said she hopes to represent the community as best as she can.
Cornelius, who eventually plans to get her Masters Degree in Education at Western Michigan University, wore a watermelon colored beaded long gown with a lacing string in the back.
She was Jr. Miss Apple Festival and Jr. Miss Congeniality of 2000.
Tiffanie Gogley, 16, was selected Miss Congeniality.
The daughter of Leah Frazier and David Gogley, Gogley said she decided to enter the Miss Niles-Brandywine contest because she believes she would make a great representative for the community.
Gogley, who plans to study nursing after finishing high school, said she also enjoys the opportunity to meet new people and make as many friends as possible.
Her question was if she wasn't participating in the contest, which would she rather be; a member of the press, a judge or the MC, and why?
She said it was a "big rush" when last year's Miss Congeniality put the crown on her head.
And, she is looking forward to getting to know the other winners.
Jessica Krassow, 17, a Niles High School student became first runner up.
Her parents are Craig and Pam Krassow.
Krassow, who plans to attend college and major in pediatrics, said she decided to enter the contest because she enjoys the challenge of new experiences, and having the opportunity to meet new people.
Lewis asked Krassow who she would bring on a road trip from Michigan to the West Coast.
Lindsey Bailey, 17, second runner up, entered the contest because she has had a lot of fun at other beauty pageants.
Bailey, the daughter of Marla and Ron Bailey, eventually plans to attend Western Michigan University to get her Masters Degree in Education.