More than 20 girls came out and put on their finest evening gowns for the 2014 Miss Sweetheart Pageant.
The Miss Sweetheart Pageant, created by Olivia Wamack as her senior project, gave girls with special needs the chance to shine at Grace Baptist Church on Saturday.
One by one, each girl waltzed across the stage in their evening wear while the emcee, Julie Meeks anchor/reporter for NBC 26 said a short biography for each girl from the Little Miss, Young Miss and Miss category.
Meeks said the decision to emcee the Miss Sweetheart Pageant seemed like a perfect fit when she heard about it for two reasons, one because she had experience in the pageant community and the special needs community and two, being able to do what she loves doing best- meeting new people.
“One of my favorite things about my job is being involved in the community and I think that things like this are a great showcase for our TV station and also it’s a way to meet new people, people I wouldn’t ordinarily get to meet sitting behind an anchor desk,” Meeks said.
Shannon Davidovich, a mother of one of the contestants in the Young Miss category, said her daughter has Asperger syndrome. Davidovich said she believes the pageant will help to improve her daughter’s self-esteem.
“Something like this just has made her feel beautiful and I just get goosebumps about it because you know not many things are options (or) are out there for these special needs kids and it’s just great to even see this,” Davidovich said.
Overall, Davidovich said she just wanted her daughter to have fun and feel confident and for all of the other girls to build self-esteem and realize they are all beautiful
“They all give us love and hope,” Davidovich said. “They help us see the real good out of life.”
Each girl was crowned with her own tiara and only one girl from each of the three categories was made a representative after the three judges deliberated. Kate Carissa Daly was named Little Miss representative, Abby Lynn Hughes was named Young Miss representative and Kaitlin Rae Allie was crowned representative for the Miss category.
Charlton Carswell, father of one of the contestants, said he had a great feeling about the pageant from a fathers point of view.
“I think this is an awesome opportunity for the girls to just to enjoy themselves, to dress up, to do something they see other girls doing and I think this as a senior project for Olivia Wamack is awesome,” Carswell said. “It’s something these girls will never forget.”