By MIKE CHAIKEN
This Saturday at 7 p.m., a new Miss Southington and a new Miss Southington’s Outstanding Teen will be crowned.
The pageant will be held at 7 p.m. at Derynoski Elementary School on 240 Main St., Southington.
We caught up some of the contestants interested in succeeding the reigning Miss Southington Jennifer Binversie and the reigning Miss Southington’s Outstanding Teen Jennifer Bukowski. We asked the contestants, why they want the crown, why they think they are the best woman for the job, and what their issue of concern (platform) is going to be.
Meet the Outstanding Teen contestants:
Kendra Kochol, 15, is a student at Southington High School.
“It would be a great way to represent my community and to show what a great town it is.”
“I would think of it as a job and show just how amazing the town is.”
“(My platform is) ‘Keeping the Arts in Public Schools.’ It’s very important for kids to have those opportunities. It’s a great way to express themselves and be who they want to be.”
Leanne Raymond, 15, is a student at Holy Cross High School.
“I want to represent the community and show how much this program has to offer. And to help out the community.”
“I would think of this as a job. I would want to make sure I did the best I could and would make it my number one priority.”
“(My platform is) ‘Kindness Counts.’ Being kind to others has become a lost art and people now don’t care as much as they could.”
Amber Ouellette, 16, is a student at Bristol Central High School.
“I want to be able to spread my platform all throughout the community of Southington.”
“I’m the best person for the job because I’m confident, good at public speaking, and I’m willing to get out into the community to spread awareness for my platform.”
“(My platform is) ‘Volunteerism: ‘Making a World of Difference.’… I’m looking to help spread volunteerism and make people aware of all the volunteer opportunities.”
Serena Charbonneau, 15, is a student at Wolcott High School.
“I’m very personally connected to the community off Southington and want to further my leadership qualities and skills.”
“I persevere and dedicated and truly want to help others.”
“With my platform ‘Being Fit and the Butterfly Effect,’ I want others to achieve a healthier lifestyle by sharing my story of my transformation.”
Allison Duffy, 14, is a student at Lewis Mills High School.
“I want to have a huge impact on the community, be a role model, and help out as many people as I can.”
“I’m very determined and hardworking and I put 110 percent into everything I do.”
“(My platform is) ‘Finding the Cure.’ I will be raising awareness, funds, and support for the families affected by cancer.”
Christina Judd, 16, is a student at Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge.
“I want to go out and be a role model for younger girls in the community as well as represent my platform, ‘Above the Influence.’”
“I would treat this as more than a title but as a job. And as a job, I would go out and represent Miss Southington’s Outstanding Teen in the community and as a role model.”
“‘Above The Influence’ is about preventing drug and alcohol abuse as well as other issues that effect teens such as negative body image.”
Jaymie Bianca, 15, is a student at St. Paul Catholic High School.
“Being Miss Southington’s Outstanding Teen would be the perfect opportunity to be a positive role model in my community… “
“I am very compassionate… I always want to make sure every human being feels they are special; they are wanted; and they are important in the community. Also I am a very determined young woman.”
“(My platform is) ‘Providing Sports and Recreational Opportunities for Special Needs Children… My brother Brandon is on the autism spectrum and ever since I was a little girl, I would assist him playing baseball or basketball… It’s a cause near and dear to my heart.”
Amanda Morelli, 15, is a student at Wolcott High School.
“(I want the title) to further promote my platform, SMART, ‘Social Media Awareness and Responsible Texting’ and set a good example.”
“I have many leadership roles that would play an important part in making Southington proud. By engaging myself in the community, I truly would make a difference.”
“(I want to address) the way children use social media. Right now, it is not used in the most appropriate way… by promoting my platform SMART… I would be able to offer safety tips to go online.”
Brooklynne Murdock, 15, is a student at Bristol Eastern High School.
“I believe that this is a great program that helps young women to find themselves and help the community.”
“On a daily basis, I am already volunteering and helping out in my community… I believe I can do well because I’m out there in the community.”
“(My platform is) ‘Love is Respect: Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention.’ This is a very pervasive situation and topic that I personally believe everyone needs to know about… Through my platform, I tell people the warning signs and how to talk to others….”
Meet the Miss contestants:
Rosalinda Tufano, 21, is a student at the University of St. Joseph.
“It was my dream to be in a pageant since I was a young child. I was the overweight girl… I didn’t think I was pretty to do pageants. Previously, this year, I lost 40 pounds and the confidence (I gained in) losing the 40 pounds made me decide to do this pageant.”
“I lived in this town my whole life. I know what goes on in this town… I feel I would be great for this job, because I can improve the things that I need to be improved.”
“(The issue I want to address is the) amount of activities for kids in this town. There’s not much for kids to do, activity-wise… Once you get to high school, there’s not really much for kids to do. I want to make activities available… so they don’t have to just sit at home and do nothing.”
Abigail Judd, 19, is a student at Tunxis Community College.
“I wanted to do something different. And it’s kind of out of my comfort zone. But I do want to make a difference. I’m not your typical pageant type. But I wanted to do it because I wanted to be different.”
“I wanted to show a different viewpoint.”
“I want to serve as the community title holder because I love doing this kind of stuff.”
Courtney Ouellette, 20, is a student at the University of New Haven.
“I do work in Southington. I’m constantly in Southington and (I’m) in the Southington community… It would be a perfect opportunity to represepnt the community in which I work.”
“I constantly have to be a positive role model for my younger sisters…. I have experience as a role model and I would be a great role model for girls of all ages.”
“(My platform is) ‘Empowering Children through the Arts. The arts have always been important to me… it always has a place in my heart. It’s always given me an opportunity to express myself… I want to be able to give that to other children.”
Jillian Duffy, 17, is a student at Lewis Mills High School.
“This community is so tight-knit and it’s a warm and welcoming community.”
“I’m very independent and strong-minded. I never met a challenge I couldn’t meet.”
“(My platform is) ‘Jillian’s Journey,’ which is about pediatric cancer care and awareness.”
Kaitlyn Bogue, 23, is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University.
“I think the Miss America organization is one of the greatest ways… (where a woman) can not only build confidence but earn funds to pay for her education. The Miss Southington pageant is a wonderful organization within the Miss Connecticut organization.”
“After I received my degree in music, I realized the importance of hard work and how much it pays off…”
“(My platform is) ‘Our Universal Language, The Importance of Fine Arts Education. That stems from my own personal story of how music changed my life. I changed my major in college… to music. (After the change) I made the deans list for the first time; I earned a scholarship; and I participated in the Miss Connecticut organization.”