Miss Congeniality is not only the name of a successful film, but the title endowed unto Wayzata High School’s very own Homecoming Queen, Lauren Wilvers. Wilvers (12) received the prestigious award on Sunday, April 19th, at the Holiday Inn Select National Airport.
Wilvers, eighteen other Minnesota contestants, and five Wisconsin contestants competed in America’s Homecoming Queen Pageant throughout the weekend of April 16th-19th to become the representative for their state.
After the first round of questions and the stage walk, the five representatives from each state were picked. Wilvers competed in the first leg of the pageant but was not selected to be in the top five.
The night before the final day of the Pageant, all of the contestants had a “jam sesh”, where they listened to music and got to know one another. It was after this that each girl voted for Miss Congeniality, the girl who had the most friendly and exuberant personality.
America’s Homecoming Queen Pageant began in 1981. It is a non-profit corporation promoting education and community service for high schools’ homecoming queens in all fifty states.
Only ten percent of the applications were selected as state finalists. The finalists competed in personal interviews and prom gown competitions. The pageant chooses not to do a swimsuit and talent competition because they are “looking for the all American girl who wants a career,”the committee for the America’s Homecoming Queen Pageant said.
“The competition/scholarship really promotes high school girls to be involved in the community,” Lauren said.
Throughout the weekend, the girls attended workshops to discuss and enforce the value of being an informed and involved citizen.
Lauren made her contribution to the community by volunteering over 130 hours for club Y.E.S. and the City of Plymouth.
“I am proud of myself,” Wilvers said. “I went out into the community asking for donations to help fund my pageant experience. It was nerve-wracking and sometimes I got rejected, but it made me a better person.”
To prepare for the pageant, Lauren received a packet with “pages upon pages” of questions that could potentially be asked during the interviews. It required a lot of studying and preparation.
Each contestant spent four minutes with each judge. “The first judge asked questions all about me,” Wilvers said, “The second judge was the most intense. You either knew the answer to the question or you didn’t, and she gave you very little time to think about it. The third judge asked questions about what I would do to make the world a better place.”
After each girl walked the stage in her formal gown, the judges narrowed it down to the top 5 finalists from each state.
“In all honesty, I’m glad I was not selected to be in the top five. I don’t know much about politics, which is a subject most finalists are expected to know very well.”
Pachea Vang, from Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, was crowned the 2008 Minnesota Homecoming Queen. She will now continue on in nationals at Disney Land this summer, where she will be competing to be America’s Homecoming Queen 2008 with the other 49 states’ contestants.
Though Wilvers didn’t win, she’s glad she had the chance to participate. “I’m bummed I didn’t receive the scholarships, but I am so glad I was picked to be a Miss Congeniality contestant this year, because it is so me.”