Whitmyer crowned Miss Dowagiac 2014
Published 9:12 am Monday, February 24, 2014
As outgoing queen Amanda Hassle placed the crown atop her head, Mackenzie Whitmyer’s eyes sparkled with tears of joy, like a pair of brilliant diamonds.
Perhaps it was only fitting then that Whitmyer, an 18-year-old senior at Dowagiac Union High School, was crowned on the date of the 75th anniversary, the “diamond jubilee,” of the Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant.
Held inside a packed auditorium at Dowagiac Middle School, Whitmyer competed with 11 other contestants vying for the title. With her victory, Whitmyer was awarded a $3,000 scholarship for any school of her choosing.
“Thank you to the judges for giving me an opportunity to represent my community,” Whitmyer said after being crowned. “Thank you to the directors, thank you to all of our volunteers who are a part of this organization and thank you to my friends and family.”
Whitmyer is the daughter of Jimmy and Michele Harlow and Mark and Lizzy Whitmyer. At school, she is involved with National Honors Society, Rotary Interact Club and is the secretary of the student senate.
This year, each of the contestants selected an inspiring woman from history to write about as their platform. Whitmyer spoke of Marian Anderson, a famed singer from the early 20th century who became an early figure of the civil rights movement.
“I believe I am following her example by pursuing my dream to work with livestock as a career,” she said. “Anderson once said, ‘when you stop having dreams and ideals, well, you might as well stop all together.’”
MacKenzie Ruff, an 18-year-old senior at Dowagiac Union School, was selected as first runner-up, receiving a $1,350 scholarship. She is the daughter of Tim and Jessica Ruff, and is involved with National Honor Society, Interact, the student newspaper, student senate, tennis, marching and concert band.
Paige Charles, an 18-year-old senior at Dowagiac Union School, was selected as second runner-up, receiving a $1,200 scholarship. She is the daughter of Eric and Michelle Charles and is involved with sideline and competitive cheerleading, humanities club and student senate.
Rounding out this year’s court was Isabel Vazquez, who was selected as Miss Congeniality, winning a $250 scholarship. Vazquez, an 18-year-old senior at Dowagiac Union School, is the daughter of Hector and Jennifer Vazquez, and is involved in marching band, jazz band, chamber choir, tennis, musicals, Chieftain Heart, the Chieftain Monitor, Interact, educational talent search and gardening club.
Whitmyer and her court will now represent the community of Dowagiac, volunteering at various events throughout the year.
Also in attendance during the evening were a handful of past Miss Dowagiac winners, in celebration of the event’s milestone anniversary. Among the past queens was Warrene Springsteen, who was crowned Miss Dowagiac in 1939, though back then winners weren’t awarded crowns with the title. However, Hassle presented Springsteen with a crown of her own on stage.
Also honored was contestant Candious Clabin, who was given the pageant’s communications award, receiving a $200 scholarship.