Monique Rector, the chairman of the local program, said there is still time for students who will graduate in 2011 to sign up to compete in the event that will be held at 7 p.m. on Aug. 31 at Rowland Auditorium on the Jasper campus of Bevill State Community College.
Rector, who won the state Junior Miss program in 1980, said the name of the program is being changed this year as part of an effort to distance it from beauty pageants.
“They’re changing the name of it to Distinguished Young Women. This is going be kind of a transition year, so they’ve asked us to use both names,” Rector said. “Our girl this year will still be Walker County’s Junior Miss, but when they go to the state program in January, they will be choosing Alabama’s Distinguished Young Women.”
Rector said the program was having difficulty raising scholarship money and sponsorship because “everyone says it’s a pageant.”
She said, “The people who say it’s a pageant won’t give and then the other people say it’s not enough of a pageant.”
The new name will include the tagline “Scholarship, Leadership, Talent.”
Another change is eliminating the evening gown portion of the program. However, evening gowns will still have a part in this year’s county pageant.
Rector said “short dresses” will eventually take the place of the evening gowns.
In January, Kristen Mosley of Walker High School was chosen as Alabama’s Junior Miss 2010, making her the county’s third state Junior Miss winner.
In 1999, Walker High School graduate Anna Donaldson won the state title.
Rector said there is no limit on how many participants can take part in the Aug. 31 event.
“We’d love to have 50 girls in it,” she said.
Rector added that participants in the county program are required to reside in Walker County. “Sometimes there’s girls in county schools who don’t live in Walker County, so it’s not where you go to school, but where you actually live,” Rector said.
The participants also are required to have a talent presentation that lasts at least 90 seconds.
“There’s a wide variety of options there,” said Rector. “You can be real creative in what you do.”
Talent counts for 25 percent of the program. The other areas of competiton are scholastic (20 percent), interview (25 percent), fitness (15 percent) and self-expression (15 percent).