Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Program continues to make a difference

Tri-Cities event celebrates Juneteenth

PASCO, Wash. (KAPP-KVEW) For the past 19 years. the Miss Juneteenth Scholarship Program has provided support for young African American women in the community.

Elouise Sparks, the program director, has created an opportunity for African American girls in 10th through 12th grade a chance to compete for a college scholarship and represent her community for a year.

“You don’t have to be a pageant girl; you just have to be you and want to continue your education,” said Sparks.

For a $20 entry fee, girls can join the pageant and participate in workshops and training sessions leading up to the pageant. Sparks said, the contestants gain valuable communication skills, volunteer experience and are prepared for both the onstage competitions (opening number, gown, and talent) and the private interview. Before the onstage event, the girls meet with the judges one-on-one in a five-minute interview with each judge that can last up to a total of 20 minutes.

“It’s not a beauty competition; it’s all about the heart. We want to know if this young lady wants to go to school and continue their education. We want to take part in that help her get there,” said Sparks.

Last year, the winner received $5,500 scholarship and the program’s goal is to offer a $10,000 scholarship each year. The scholarship money is collected through sales or ADs in the program book, ticket sales and donations.

The valuable skills, friendships and self-confidence made within this program are priceless, and Miss Juneteenth 2019-20, Jalani Green said,” The one thing I learned from this pageant is, it doesn’t matter what skin tone you are or what size you are. All that matters is who you are in within. And if you have that spark and drive you’ll achieve great things. If you want to do something bigger than yourself, I know you’ll do amazing.”

Green is currently a sophomore in college also said through this program she has been able to connection to her roots. She said that being a descendant of slaves, it’s hard to connect to your history, and Juneteenth allows her to do that.

The pageant starts June 18, 2021 at 6 p.m. at the Uptown Theatre in Richland. For tickets and additional information call 509-546-1573 or visit Facebook: Miss Juneteenth Pageant.