Francisco to appear in Miss Michigan pageant

Published 8:10 pm Monday, August 13, 2007

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
DOWAGIAC – Anjel Francisco, Miss Cassopolis 2006, who attends Eastern Michigan University, Saturday night at Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center won a $1,000 scholarship and the Miss Cass/St. Joseph County 2008 crown to represent this area in the Miss Michigan pageant next June in Muskegon.
Her platform issue was preventing violence in schools. Anjel is the daughter of Hiawatha Francisco and Andrea Johnson. Anjel also won the award for ad sales in the program and $100 for her blue evening gown. She sang "Out Here on My Own" for talent.
First runner-up Mekayla Diehl, 18, of Union, attends Albion College. She receives a $400 scholarship. Mekayla, whose platform was "4-H: Making the Best Better," is the daughter of Katie and Ted Sautter. Mekayla's talent was twirling a flag like a baton while dancing.
Anjel and Mekayla split $100 for tying in the swimsuit competition.
Second runner-up Cally Hass, who won a $200 scholarship, is the younger sister of 2007 queen and Outstanding Teen Mistress of Ceremonies Linaya Hass. Cally was in the 2006 Cassopolis court with Anjel as second runner-up.
Cally, 18, who attends Michigan State University, is the daughter of Dean and Glenda Hass. Her platform issue was agriculture and natural resources education. Cally sold the most tickets and tap-danced to the Romantics' "What I Like About You."
Melissa Prestine, Miss Cass-St. Joseph County 2000, served as mistress of ceremonies for the pageant, which opened with contestants dancing to The Beach Boys' "Surfin' Safari" for the "Under the Sea" theme. "Surfer Girl" was the soundtrack for evening wear competition.
People's Choice recognition went to Keera Morton, 20, of Dowagiac, who sang for the talent segment. Keera, who attends Central Michigan University, is the daughter of Bob and Catherine Morton. Keera's platform issue was "The Arts for the Ages."
Rose Middleton, 20, of Dowagiac, won recognition from her fellow contestants. She is the daughter of Mary Middleton and of Paul and Diana Middleton. Rose attends Southwestern Michigan College and used "It's Time to Find a Cure" for cancer as her platform issue. She sang for talent.
Contestant Amber Webb, 19, of Sturgis, portrayed Cinderella's envious stepsister in a monologue. "It just isn't fair" that "little Cindy" can look great in a dress made from Kmart curtains when she doesn't know the difference between a carrot stick and a chocolate eclair.
Amber is a Cornerstone University student and the daughter of Ronald and Darla Webb. Her platform was "Building Tomorrow's Leaders Through the FFA."
Executive Director Phillip Hurlbutt, who was on crutches, presented flowers to Linaya as the University of South Carolina marine science junior and former Miss Cassopolis ended her reign, during which she won $1,100 competing at the state level.
Linaya dedicated her reign to friend Morris Neal Bullocks II, who was killed May 30. "You are an inspiration to all of these young women," Hurlbutt told Linaya, who performed her Muskegon jazz dance, "Let's Get Loud."
Miss judges included: Cari Hartman, a Gordon Food Service sales representative who lives in Muskegon; Debbie Nelson, a Paw Paw legal secretary; Rick Palmisano, of Halbritter Funeral Home, Niles; Marie Summers, a member of the Miss Buchanan Committee; and Eric Waggoner, an elementary school principal and dog breeder from Ohio.
The audience did not see 10-minute interviews the judges conducted earlier in the day.