Miss Niles 2019 to take place Saturday at Niles High School

NILES — A new 2019 Miss Niles court will be selected this week, giving area youth a chance to represent their community and wear a glittering crown, too.

The annual scholarship pageant will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday at Niles High School, 1441 Eagle St. This year’s theme is the Hospitality State of Mississippi.

The scholarship pageant will include five Miss Niles contestants and one Mister Niles competitor. For the first time, there will also be a Miss Teen Niles scholarship pageant, which includes four inaugural contestants.

Jennifer Iwaniuk, the chairperson for the Miss Niles Scholarship Organization, said they hoped to inspire more youth to take part in the competition. With the number of competitors declining in past years, Iwaniuk said she hopes the teen category will also inspire more young women to compete in the Miss category.

Iwaniuk’s children have competed in local pageants.

“There is confidence and [the opportunity] to be a huge role model in the community they live in, as well as the volunteering,” Iwaniuk said.

Those vying for a place on the court will interview with the judges before the pageant. On Saturday, they will also perform a dance number, present their formal walk and answer an on-stage question. Due to the low number of participants this year, there will not be an elimination round.

Those who earn the Miss and Mister titles will have the opportunity to compete against other community king and queens in the Blossomtime Pageant. In addition to this opportunity. Those who compete also stand a chance to win scholarships.

As part of the Miss Niles court, youth take part in a variety of volunteer activities with the aim to better their community. This year, Iwaniuk said they would continue traditions to be involved in the Relay for Life and Burn Run. A new effort they will be taking part in this year will be volunteering at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve.

Iwaniuk said they are continuing to seek sponsorships to help fund pageant scholarships. She encouraged those interested in giving to the cause to visit the Niles Scholarship Organization Facebook page to learn how to donate.

Iwaniuk began serving as the Miss Niles chairperson this year. She said with new leadership in place, the organization hopes to increase its presence in the community.

“The biggest thing is getting these kids back out into the community and being role models,” Iwaniuk said.

The Miss Niles Scholarship Organization was founded in 1926. Iwaniuk encouraged people to take part in the tradition.

“Just come out and see where the new committee is going to take it,” Iwaniuk said. “These are the kids that live in the community and are role models.”

Tickets for Miss Niles cost $20 and can be purchased at the door.

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