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Petal's Junior Miss captures
three preliminary awards

By Staff
TALENT COMPETITION Amanda Leigh Kistler of Pascagoula performs a lyrical ballet Friday night, part of the Mississippi Junior Miss competition. Even though Kistler didn't win the talent contest, she did win a preliminary award in fitness. Competition continues at 8 p.m. tonight at the Temple Theatre.Photo by kyle carter / The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
August 2,2003
Kenzie Keaster of Petal must have impressed the judges.
On Friday night, before a packed crowd at Meridian's historic Temple Theatre, Keaster captured three preliminary awards in the 45th Annual Mississippi Junior Miss competition.
Her awards were for poise, scholastic and fitness.
All 38 of the state's most talented and scholastically high-achieving young ladies stood hand-in-hand on the stage of the theatre, just like they did on opening night Thursday.
This time, however, they were waiting to hear the names of those who captured the first of many awards to be handed out during the second night of competition. Keaster was the only contestant to win three awards.
Coming in next with two each were Meridian's Junior Miss Jessica Curry and Lamar County's Ann Davis. Curry received a talent and scholastic award, while Davis got a fitness and poise award.
Lauderdale County's Baleigh Barham captured a preliminary award in talent with her performance of the song "Big Time."
The contestants were divided into two groups: the Sapphire Group and the Diamond Group. The Sapphire Group competed Friday in talent, while the Diamond Group competed in fitness and poise.
During a break in the competition, Beth Finch, Mississippi's Junior Miss 2003, gave a crowd-pleasing vocal performance by singing "A Piece of Sky."
During the poise segment, contestants in the Diamond Group dressed in formal gowns and were asked: "Is there ever a situation where racial profiling is justified?"
The poise segment makes up 15 percent of each contestant's total score. Judges consider the elements of grace, poise under pressure, ability to communicate effectively, grooming and naturalness in posture and carriage.
Contestants are competing for more than $20,000 in college scholarships. One young woman will walk away with the title of Mississippi's Junior Miss 2004 and a $5,000 cash scholarship to use at the college or university of her choice.
Tonight marks the final evening of competition, which will culminate with the announcement of overall winners in each category and the naming of the 2004 Mississippi Junior Miss.
The program begins at 8 p.m. at Meridian's Temple Theatre.
Preliminary winners in the 2004 Mississippi Junior Miss competition were announced Friday in each of the following categories. The winners and categories were:
Anna Tadlock, Rankin County
Ann Davis, Lamar County
Kenzie Keaster, Petal
Lacey Cofield, Stone County
Jessica Curry, Meridian
Rachael Shannon, Hinds County
Ashley Smith, Jackson County
Baleigh Barham, Lauderdale County
Jessica Curry, Meridian
Hayley Hill, Smith County
Kenzie Keaster, Petal
Laura Thomas, Clinton
Amanda Kistler, Pascagoula
Ann Davis, Lamar County
Kenzie Keaster, Petal
Rebekah Crosby, Forrest County