Meet the 2023 Miss Dowagiac Contestants — Contestants 1-3

Published 1:34 pm Thursday, January 19, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The 2023 Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant will be hosted at 7 p.m. Saturday, January 28, at the Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center.  Tickets are available at the Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce office, 200 Depot Drive, Dowagiac, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday to Friday. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door the night of the Pageant. Tickets are priced at $15 each, and must be paid by cash or check. 

Leader Publications will be featuring the nine contestants over the course of the next two days.

Introducing the 2023 Miss Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant Contestants:

Anna Ironside

Contestant Number: 1

Age: 17

Parents/Guardians: Dave and Debbie Ironside

School Attending: Dowagiac Union High School

Grade: 12

School Activities: Dowagiac competitive cheer team, Dowagiac girls golf team, Dowagiac sideline cheer team, a member of the environmental club, humanities club, student senate, and Chieftain Heart club; and treasurer of Rotary Interact.

Outside Activities: Being a member of the Miss Michele Dance Team, working elections at Wayne Township, teaching and dancing at Miss Michele & Company, and interning at Blue Print Photography.

Interests and Hobbies: Dance, photography, organizing, reading, travel, working out, writing, and trying new things.

Awards and Honors: Receiving high honors my first two years of high school, receiving Honors junior and senior year, receiving two dancer of the year awards, getting my varsity lette freshman year, earning academic all-state for golf all 4 years, and earning academic all-state in 2022 for competitive cheer.

What are your ambitions and plans after graduation? My ambitions and plans after graduation are to go to a 4 year university and study journalism while being in the Air Force ROTC Program at that University, in preparation to become a photojournalist in the Air Force and eventually get my PHD in journalism.

What is your greatest accomplishment(s)? My greatest accomplishment is being able to break 4 school records and win first place at multiple competitions with the Dowagiac competitive cheer team.

What are three words to describe you? Sociable, Confident, and Resourceful.

Why did you decide to compete for Miss Dowagiac 2023? I decided to compete for the title of Miss Dowagiac because I wanted the opportunity to build my interview skills as well as my public speaking skills. I was also excited to build new and stronger friendships with the other 2023 contestants. Most of all I wanted to further involve myself in the community and have the chance to get to know more individuals who represent the city of Dowagiac.


Molly File

Constant Number: 2

Age: 17

Parents/guardian: John and Cheree File

School attending: Dowagiac Union High School

Grade: 12

School activities: Sideline/Competitive Cheer, Student Senate, Chieftain Heart, Rotary Interact, Humanities Club, Environmental club, and Work Based Learning.

Outside activities: Camping, kayaking, spending time with family and friends, and working.

Interest and hobbies: Photography and painting.

Awards and honors: Earned varsity letter in Sideline Cheer. 

What are your ambitions and plans after graduation? My ambition and plan after graduation is to attend Grand Valley State University, and major in pre-law. My long term plan is to specialize in family law.

What is your greatest accomplishment(s)? My greatest accomplishment is the person I have grown into. Three years ago was my first year of high school. I lacked confidence, was shy, and kept to myself. Now, three years later, I am the most confident I have ever been, I’m outgoing, and I participate in many activities in my school and in my community.

What are three words to describe you? Independent, humorous, and open-minded. 

Why did you decide to compete for Miss Dowagiac 2023? I decided to compete for the title of Miss Dowagiac 2023 so I can challenge myself. I want to enhance my public speaking and communication skills. I would also enjoy becoming a more integral member of our community. Oh, and of course to have fun with my fellow contestants.


Jessica Schrader

Contestant number: 3.


Parents: Mike Schrader and Dana Bunch

School attending: Dowagiac Union High School


School activities: National Honors Society (NHS), Marching band, Concert band, Jazz band, Cheerleading, Chamber choir, and Humanities Club. Interests and Hobbies: Music, theater, singing, painting, and writing music. I like to dance on my own and I enjoy sewing and making crafts and baked goods.

Awards and Honors: (Middle school) President’s academic achievement award, high honor roll, and participated in Honors Band. (High School) High honor roll, and participated in the arch carrying for the top 12 in my class for graduation last year, I have held many leadership positions such as Drum Major, and Section leader within my 5 years of the marching band. Participated in an honors choir in Kalamazoo (known as SWMVF), received a Division 1 rating at choral state solo and ensemble, and received a perfect score for sight reading at the choral state solo and ensemble. In 2020, I received the MVP award for the winter competitive cheer season.

What are your ambitions and plans after graduation?  My ambition for after high school is to attend Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. I plan to pursue my passion for music by double majoring in musical theater performance, and secondary music education so I can inspire more students to be musicians.

What is your greatest accomplishment(s)? 

My greatest accomplishments are being the youngest section leader as a freshman in the marching band, making it into an elite, auditioned honor choir (known as SWMVF) as a freshman, getting my Division 1 rating and a perfect score for state choral solo and ensemble, singing our national anthem at a South Bend Cubs baseball game this summer, and closing the Young Americans school tour show with a solo that made up the entire final act. I also helped found and suggest the student resource of Manic Mondays.

What are three words to describe you? Bubbly, Passionate, and Empathetic.

Why did you decide to compete for Miss Dowagiac 2023?  I decided to run for the title of Miss Dowagiac 2023 because I genuinely enjoy giving back to my community and volunteering at local fire departments and community projects. I have followed the Miss Dowagiac pageant for several years and it is something I have always wanted to participate in. I realize this pageant is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wanted to take this opportunity to do something bold. I am not one to be afraid to take a leap of faith and put myself in a new position to better myself and potentially help the community. I adore the history and the preservation of our city, and participating in the Miss Dowagiac pageant would give me endless amounts of opportunities to partake in the preservation of Dowagiac and its thriving culture.