Audience members cheered as each of the eleven young ladies competing for the title of the new Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen introduced themselves on the afternoon of Jan 8th at the Mission City Center for the Performing Arts.
The girls showcased their abilities in the talent segment. Annalee Akin, 16, showed off her slick tap dance moves to the instrumentals of “Like a G6” by Far East Movement. Ashley Wong, 13, played a smooth mash up of “Ashtree Grove” and “Devil’s Dream” on her viola. Molly Crawford, 16, didn’t miss a beat while performing a jazz dance to “River Deep Mountain High” from the television show Glee.
The girls demonstrated presence in the evening wear segment. Comfortable and poised, Tiah Esquibel, 13, graced the stage in a lovely one strap sunshine yellow gown. Relaxed and ready, Taylor Tompkins, 16, glided onto the stage in a form-fitting black dress with a ruffled back.
The girls demonstrated they can answer random questions with ease during the on-stage question segment. When asked to choose between having beauty or confidence, Jennalynn Sallings, 15, replied without hesitation that having confidence was more important because confident individuals can let their inner beauty come through.
While all the girls performed well, the leading lady of the pageant was Molly Crawford, winner of this year’s Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen. Crawford also won the competition’s awards for her interview, talent, physical fitness, and evening wear. Backstage after the pageant, Crawford glowed with the radiance of a young goddess in her tangerine orange Grecian-style gown.
The gracious winner thanks many people for their support.
“I want to thank my mom, who was stoning rhinestones onto my dress until 3 a.m. I want to thank my grandmother, who inspired me to do the pageant. I want to thank all the people in the pageant industry who helped me like [Mary McCaman] and [Stephanie Quintal]. I want to thank my princesses, Mikaela, Georgia, and Jennifer.”
“I’m proud of myself because I worked hard for this. To prepare for the pageant, I studied up on current events. I made sure I really knew myself so I could answer whatever questions they threw at me,” Crawford continues.
Currently a student at Lincoln High School, Crawford looks forward to participating in the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen pageant, meeting new people, and promoting her platform, Operation Beautiful.
“Operation Beautiful promotes building self-esteem. [To accomplish the mission of this organization], you’re supposed to leave an anonymous Post-it note with a positive message in a public place for somebody to find so it could make their day,” Crawford says.
Other highlights of the pageant included a stunning solo of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from Melissa Bowling, Miss Santa Clara 2010, an adorable dance performance from the 2011 Miss Santa Clara Princesses, and a high-powered gymnastics dance performance from Jessa Carmack, Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen 2010. After the pageant, the Miss Santa Clara Auxiliary appointed Carmack to be Miss Mission City’s Outstanding Teen 2011 so that both Carmack and Crawford can compete in the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen pageant and make appearances together this year. While the Miss Santa Clara Auxiliary is paying for Crawford’s scholarship and the general expenses required for her participation in the state pageant, an anonymous sponsor is paying for Carmack’s general expenses to attend the state pageant.
Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Awards:
- Miss Santa Clara’s Outstanding Teen – $1,000, Molly Crawford
- First Runner-Up – $400, Taylor Tompkins
- Second Runner-Up – $350, Tiah Esquibel
- Third Runner-Up – $300, Jennalynn Sallings
- Fourth Runner-Up – $250, Annalee Akin
- Non-Finalists (6 @$200 each)- $1,200
- Miss Congeniality Award – $100, Annalee Akin
- Spirit of Competition Award – $100, Ashley Wong
- Interview Award – $100, Molly Crawford
- Talent Award – $100, Molly Crawford
- Physical Fitness Award – $100, Molly Crawford
- Evening Wear Award – $100, Molly Crawford