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Miss Katy crowned

January 28, 2019

Fighting back tears and cupping her hands over her mouth, Texas A&M student Cassidy Scott kneeled as she was crowned Miss Katy on Saturday.

Just moments before, her counterpart Hayden Wright, a 16-year-old Round Rock High School student, was named Miss Katy Outstanding Teen.

They were two of 16 beauty queens and princesses-to-be who sashayed their way across the stage Saturday night at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center in Houston.

“I am speechless,” Scott said, noting she was surprised that she received the crown on her third try. “I hear stories about girls getting it around ninth time. But I feel eternally blessed to be a part of this organization. I just can’t wait to see what this year holds. I’m looking forward to this a lot.”

Scott’s talent was singing, while Wright performed a lyrical dance.

In the Bay Area categories, pageant contestant Marissa Murdock, a 20-year-old Baylor University student, took the crown for Miss Bay Area, while 17-year-old Sasha Buford, a student at Taylor High School, was crowned Miss Bay Area Outstanding Teen.

The theme of the night was empowerment, with songs like Andra Day’s Rise Up and girls sharing their thoughts on body positivity and leadership.

Through three categories, the young women dazzled judges with their confidence and powerful messages of encouragement, empathy and equality in a post-#MeToo environment.

Each contestant was asked to name a platform for which they stood and to perform a talent.

When one of the MCs asked teen contestant Hannah Lee what she’d say to those who believe pageants aren’t a good influence on women, Lee, a 13-year-old student at Highlands Junior High, said, “(Pageants) are (for women) to become a role model and to take stand and to show people how to become a role model.”

Teen Contestant Angellyn Fenner, who played the ukele and sang, said she is inspired by “beautiful women who do things that society says they can’t.”

University of Houston student Melanie Louch, 18, said encouraging women to pursue politics can be challenging.

“I think people aren’t used to seeing women in a position of power,” said Louch, who’s talent was playing the classical cello. “So it can be a little intimidating to see a strong, confident and powerful woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it.”

Twenty-one-year-old Texas A&M University student Tiffany Dimano said she wants the public to become aware of the dangers of not vaccinating children.

“Vaccinations are crucial for saving the lives of children,” said Dimano, who’s talent was singing. “There’s an increasing number of children not vaccinated in Texas and I want to educate not only parents but the public on this issue.”

Miss Katy and Miss Katy Outstanding Teen, and Miss Bay Area and Miss Bay Area Outstanding Teen are official preliminaries to the Miss Texas and Miss America Scholarship Pageants.

Miss Katy Scholarship Organization Executive Director Jacqueline Arnold said this was the first year for the Miss Bay Area and Miss Bay Area Outstanding Teen categories. It was a revamping of the Miss Katy and Miss Katy Outstanding Teen, which first took place about five years ago under another executive director.

Arnold, a former pageant competitor, restarted the Katy pageant to encourage young women to feel good about themselves and to build their confidence.

“I can honestly say that every job that I’ve interviewed for, I’ve been offered the position,” she said. It’s because you gain so much and you come away with so much. These are really smart girls, with 4.0 GPAs. They are all impressive and they want to give back to the community.”

Miss Katy and Miss Bay Area each received the official crown and sash, a floral bouquet, an award plaque, $500 cash scholarship, a $16,000 in-kind scholarship to Wade College of Design, a Muzzies gift bag, one contrast contouring treatment and a coaching session from training coach Greg Solomon.

The Miss Katy Outstanding Teen and Miss Bay Area Outstanding winners received the official crown and sash, bouquets, an award plaque, $250 scholarships, a gift bag and a coaching session.

Judges for the crown included Fulshear Mayor Aaron Groff, former Miss Texas Chesney Berzins, Camp Bow Wow Katy and Kemah Owner Jose Morillo, Seven Lakes Junior High School Principal Kristin Harper, Charles Fahy Jr. and award-winning Katy realtor Tracy Gremillion.

Saturday’s winners are eligible to advance to Miss Texas pageant.

michelle.iracheta@chron.com

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