Gowns sparkled and heels shined as 31 girls took to the stage of the North Augusta High School auditorium on Saturday to compete in the annual Miss NASH pageant.
At the end of the night, Katie Mode walked away with the title of Miss NASH 2012. Contestants compete in casual wear and evening gown for their class titles, with the Miss NASH title reserved for a senior.
The evening began with the parade of contestants and a welcome from Miss NASH 2011, Lacey Ferguson, who introduced the evening’s emcee, Shannon Ford. Ford, from the Lexington area, is the reigning Miss South Carolina Teen USA. Ford then introduced judges Jessica Beckwith, Brad Hine, Kiana Anderson and Chris Bridges, and the auditor, Michelle Rabun Coppock.
The casual wear portion of the competition kicked off with the freshman class.
“Casual wear is the best category in my opinion because it’s fun, upbeat and allows the contestant to express herself in an energetic way," junior Bailie Sparks said. "Casual wear is a lot less serious than evening gown, which allows the contestants to have more fun with the walk.”
Winners from casual wear were: ninth grade, Christin Abdullah; 10th grade, Courtney Lyles; 11th grade, Julia Vu; and 12th grade, Kaitlyn Shreve.
The evening gown competition followed the same pattern as the casual wear.
"Evening wear is always fun. It’s your time to shine," senior Rachel Ward said.
“It’s just hard to remember to walk slow and try not to trip. The risers are a real pain to walk up, too!”
Senior Alyssa Balbag said it was a fun experience to be dressed up on stage with everyone watching.
Winners of the evening gown competition were: ninth grade, Abigayle Jacobs; 10th grade, Kimberli Busbee; 11th grade, Lindsey Waldrop; and 12th grade, Balbag.
A brief intermission followed the evening wear competition, during which the judges made their final selections and a new twist was put in the program: a People’s Choice award for each grade.
A booth set up in the lobby allowed the audience to vote for a contestant. Winners were: ninth grade, Candace Channell; 10th grade, Allison Owings; 11th grade, Sparks; and 12th grade, Macee Lepard.
Also new this year was the Miss Sweetheart Award, honoring the contestant who raised the most money for the PTSA. The award went to Channell, who raised $1,242. first runner-up went to Anna Huff, who raised $470, and second runner-up was Sparks, $400.
“Well, I worked so hard to win Miss Sweetheart," Channell said, explaining that she walked around her neighborhood asking for donations.