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Introducing our Junior Misses

By Staff
JUNIOR MISS Jessica Curry, left, Meridian's Junior Miss, and Baleigh Barham, Lauderdale County's Junior Miss, will compete in the Mississippi Junior Miss program later this month at the Temple Theatre in downtown Meridian. Photo by Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
July 6, 2003
Baleigh Barham and Jessica Curry met each other about six months ago. But, in that short time, the two 17-year-olds have become fast friends.
But as close as these two girls are, they are well aware that they will be competing against each other later this month in the Mississippi Junior Miss program.
State program
Barham, Lauderdale County's Junior Miss 2003, and Curry, Meridian's Junior Miss 2003, will join 36 other girls from across the state on stage at The Temple Theatre July 31-Aug. 2.
Barham said she is honored to represent Lauderdale County.
As a little sister, her job was to help a girl who was competing prepare for each of the program's segments.
Local program
At this year's local program in March, Barham earned awards in physical fitness, and was selected as the "Be Your Best Self Essay" and "Spirit of Junior Miss" winner.
Curry received the scholastic achievement and talent awards.
Both Barham and Curry said Junior Miss has challenged them to learn more about what's happening in the world.
Said Curry: "I never realized how much went on in Meridian before I became Junior Miss."
Proud mamas
The girls' mothers are proud of their daughters.
Sharon Barham said she remembers telling her daughter before the local program, "No matter what happens, you'll grow from this and become a better person.
Jacki Curry said Jessica hasn't changed since winning the title of Meridian's Junior Miss.
Both local contestants said they felt prepared for the local program by organizers who put them through mock interviews.
Curry said mock interviews helped because she never really thought about having to give her opinion on different issues.
How they're judged
The girls will be judged in five areas fitness, 15 percent; poise, 15 percent; scholastic, 20 percent; talent, 25 percent; and panel evaluation, 25 percent.
For her talent presentation, Barham will sing "Big Time" an upbeat Broadway song which she said fits her personality.
Curry will perform a ballet and gymnastic routine to the song, "Shout to the Lord."
Both girls have appeared at local events, including the recent Jimmie Rodgers Festival.
When school starts in August, they will begin the "Be Your Best Self" program, which allows them to go into classrooms and talk to children.
Curry and Barham say they encourage other young girls to participate in Junior Miss.
Barham said: "I encourage girls to be a part of Junior Miss because of the friends you meet and the things you learn about yourself. I learned that I can push myself to do things."

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