By MIKE CHAIKEN
On Saturday, new local representatives to the Miss Connecticut pageant will be selected as the Miss Forestville-Bristol Scholarship Organization holds its annual pageant.
The pageant will select Miss and Outstanding Teen representatives to send to the state pageant in New London this coming June.
We caught up with some of the contestants at a recent rehearsal to ask them three questions. Why should they be selected to represent the local organization; why is community service important; and why are they beautiful on the inside.
Morgan Veronesi, 15, of Wolcott, and a student at Wolcott High School, said, “If I were to be picked for the crown I would identify myself as someone who always looks out for others I am very outgoing and I would promote my platform as well as and as much as I could.”
”Community service is important to me,” said Morgan, “because it shows how dedicated you are to a cause.”
She said the thing that makes her beautiful inside is “is how confident and caring I am to other people. I always show affection.”
Amanda Morelli, 15, of Wolcott, and also a student at Wolcott High School, said, “I think I possess many of the qualities that would make Bristol proud. I would be a great role model to its many citizens.”
As for community service, Amanda said, “I think any community service in general is imporant as long as you give back to the community.”
As for what makes her beautiful inside, Amanda replied, “One is beautiful on the inside based on their personality. They would have to be humble kind and compassionate. Looks aren’t everything.”
Taylor Plourd, 14, of Bristol, a student at Bristol Central High School, said “I should be chosen for the crown because I’ve grown up in Bristol my whole life. I’ve never gone anywhere else. Also, I’m a friendly, loving, honest, trustworthy person.”
“Community service is important to me because I really love helping other people,” said Taylor. “The Golden Rule, ‘Do unto others as you want done unto you really stuck with me.’ And community service is just a way to (achieve) that.”
Beauty on the inside, said Taylor, “is when you’re confident in yourself. It doesn’t matter if your smile is perfect or your hair is perfect, whatever you feel inside, and you’re confident is what true beauty is.”
Leanne Raymond, 15, a Southington resident who attends Holy Cross High School said, “I should be chosen for the crown… (because) I would take it very seriously and I would take the power and the authority I have with the crown (and use it) to my advantage and try to be the best role model I could be.”
“Community service is important to me,” said Leann, “because giving back to the community is important it brings the community together and you can connect with old friends or make new ones.”
As for where her inner lies, Leanne said, “I’m very caring and giving to others. And I always make sure that put my problems aside and take care of others first.”
Ariana Puglisi, 14, is a Cheshire resident who attends Mercy High School in Middletown, said, she should be selected for an Outstanding Teen title, because, “That I’m very energetic and I love to serve my community.”
“Community service is important to me,” said Ariana, “because growing up in the Miss America organization I’ve given a lot and gotten a lot.”
As for her inner beauty, said Ariana, “I believe what makes me beautiful on the inside is I’m a loving and giving soul.”
Samantha Anderson, 15, a Wolcott High student from Wolcott said she deserved an Outstanding Teen crown because, “I can teach young individuals about my personal platform, I have been targeted as a woman who loved racing. And I believe it’s important to teach everyone about what’s wrong with bullying today.”
“Community service is important,” said Samantha, “because it helps give back to the community what it has been given to you. I feel everybody should be involved in their community.”
“I am very thoughtful and caring,” said in regard to what makes her beautiful inside. “I love to share my personality with many and I’m very outgoing I love meeting new people. … It’s not the crown that defines me but it’s me who defies me.”
Emma Guilmette, 14, a Bristol resident attending Bristol Eastern High School, said, “I really want to do something with the crown. My platform is the American Lung Association. It’s very close to my heart because my sister has asthma and has been suffering from it for a very long time. It’s very bad. My grandpa has pulmonary fibrosis and he is on a list for the lung transplant.”
“I’ve been doing community service for my whole life,” said Emma. “I like being part of the community . It’s really nice to see you recognize someone or they recognize you for being somewhere (helping) in the community.”
Emma felt that what makes her beautiful inside is “I don’t like being mean to people because I know how it feels. I’m very nice.”
Jaymie Bianca, a 15-year-old from Bristol who attends St. Paul Catholic High School, said she should be picked for an Outstanding Teen because “I personally don’t view the crown as an accessory, but as a microphone. With it, you are given the opportunity to reach out to an entire community, promote your platform, and speak your mind. A crown has the power to capture an audience, and truly make a difference in our community.”
“Community service is highly important to me because I believe it is imperative to give back to a community who has given so much to various causes and events. Numerous community programs, such as the Baseball and Basketball Challenger Leagues, and Special Olympics, have truly given my brother a voice…. Also, my platform, ‘Providing Sports and Recreational Opportunities for Special Needs Children” works to fund these programs and create new ones as well, and I truly value giving back to the community, since they have given so much to my family.”
Speaking of her inner beauty, Jaymie said, “I feel that I’m very compassionate. I want others to experience the beauty life offers, and I always place others before myself. I am never one to judge others, and I am always the first person to lend a helping hand. Though I may not be perfect in terms of physical beauty, I don’t believe possessing a crown is about how you look. It is rather about being confident in who you are, and connecting with other people. I am vivacious, outgoing, confident, benevolent, and truly believe these qualities give me enthusiasm for helping others and a passion for being around other people, and ensuring their happiness every single day.”
Jennifer Binversie, 21, a Hartford resident attending the University of Hartford, said she deserves the Miss title because, “I have a welcoming personality and I’m friendly. And I’m ready to represent the town of Bristol in the state competition.”
“Giving back to the community is absolutely important to me. I feel I have been so fortunate in my life and I feel humble about that. So all I can do is give back,” said Jennifer.
“Personality is everything,” said Jennifer when asked about her inner beauty. “That’s what makes you beautiful. You can look at someone and they may be beautiful on the outside but the moment you hear them speak, and you sense their personality, they can become very ugly, very quickly. So it is really about being yourself and letting your own personality shine through.”
Kaitlyn Bogue, 23, of Oxford and a graduate of Western Connecticut State University said she deserved the Miss crown because, “I think I’m really lucky to be a performer and a musician. That has instilled in me a lot of discipline and a constant mentality of never giving up. I feel like that separates me from a lot of people.”
“Community service is really important to me,” said Kaitlyn. “I truly feel volunteering is such as selfless and compassionate act. When you learn at a young age how important it is to do community service… you can carry that on for the rest of your life.”
“To me beauty is compassion and doing what you love not only for yourself but for the greater good of people,” said Kaitlyn of the concept of inner beauty. “So I really do feel my compassion for other people and my drive to do well for the community is really what makes me beautiful.”
Jillian Duffy, 17, from Burlington who attends Lewis S. Mills High School, said she deserves the title because “I have grown up in the Bristol/Forestville organization since the age of 8, as well as having competed in the Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen program. Therefore, I fully understand the role of a local title holder. I am dedicated to my platform, and know that if given the opportunity, I will have an impact as a representative for Bristol/Forestville.”
In terms of the importance of community service, Jillian said it is something her family has always done. “Whether it was through the Miss America Organization, school, or on our own, community service has always been a large part of my life. Having been a patient at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, I have seen first hand the impact that a small act of community service can have and I have made it my mission to give back to the hospital that has given so much to me.”
As for her inner beauty, Jillian said, “I have always been taught that beauty comes from within, and the Miss America Organization’s philosophy is built around acceptance and building sophisticated, strong, smart, kind and independent woman through its program, which in my opinion is inner beauty. I have been fortunate enough to work closely with this organization and have benefited from all that it teaches.”
Also competing are Courtney Ouellette, Gina Salvatore, and Cheyenne O’Donnell. They were unavailable for interviews.
The Miss Forestville-Bristol Scholarship Organization pageant will be held Saturday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at Chippens Hill Middle School, 551 Peacedale St., Bristol.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN (with the exception of Gina Salvatore)