Beauty much more than skin deep as local teens display giving spirit

Beauty much more than skin deep as local teens display giving spirit
By DONNA RYDER
Associate Editor
Saturday, two girls from Obion County will be competing in Jackson for the title of Miss Tennessee Teen and the best part is you can root for them both to be crowned.
Aubree Guess of Union City and Clare McConnell of South Fulton will be vying for the crowns of “Outstanding Teen” and “Teen Princess,” respectively. The pageants are part of the Miss America program and will be held at 6 p.m. at Liberty High School, located at 3470 Ridgecrest Road Ext.
Miss Guess will be competing as Miss Fall Fest Outstanding Teen, while Miss McConnell will be competing as the reigning Miss Parson Peavine Teen Princess.
The Tennessee Outstand-ing Teen contestants are scored for interview, talent, evening gown, fitness wear, onstage question and scholastic competition (a review of latest transcript/report card). The winner will advance to Orlando, Fla., in August.
The Tennessee Princess contestants are scored in interview, evening gown, fitness wear and composite. This pageant does not advance past the state level.
In order to compete, each contestant must have a platform and both Obion County girls have focused on children.
Miss Guess’ platform is “Performing Arts for You.” She recently organized a singing event at Higher Ground in Union City, with all tips going to the Obion County Fair Youth Musical. Her big event was held this month at Union City Elementary School, where she and Fair Show alumnus Alton Alexander spent four hours teaching 20 students in grades 3-5 songs and dances from last year’s “Glee” show. Attendees were treated to pizza for lunch.
She said after the pageant — win or lose — she will continue to work and expand on “Performing Arts for You,” with the hopes of one day forming it as a nonprofit organization focusing on children’s performance, theater and art.
Miss Guess plans to sing “River Deep Mountain High” for her talent portion of the competition.
She said she’s also been working out in the gym every day with Emily Anne Sparks, daughter of Miss Fall Fest director Tammy Sparks, to prepare for the swimsuit competition. Other Miss Fall Fest directors include Jenni Beth Vincent and Michelle Creswell.
Miss McConnell’s platform is “Kidz Count.” She decided on her platform after assisting in the Twin Cities Men’s Organization Christmas shopping tour this past Christmas. She said after arriving, “I talked to many of the kids. One little boy with huge brown eyes was standing alone.”
She went on to say the boy was 5 years old and had seven siblings at home. She said as they shopped for  shirts, pants, shoes, underwear, socks and a coat, she learned he had no coat at home — only hooded sweatshirts — and the shoes he was wearing were several sizes too small.
This month, she hosted a “Kidz Count Day” at the Willingham Center, where she works as a lifeguard and as a camp counselor for Summer Day Camp. Children’s names were provided by Family Connection in Fulton and by South Fulton Elementary School. The children swam, played basketball, rode scooters, read a story and ate pizza. Miss McConnell said she wanted it to be like a big birthday party. Tables were set up for each of the 12 months and the children sat at their birthday month. They even got to decorate their own cupcakes, which were made by Miss McConnell.
She also read to several classes at South Fulton Elementary for Dr. Suess Day.
Miss Guess and Miss McConnell have another thing in common. They are both fairly new to competing in pageants.
Miss Guess said she competed in a couple of pageants when she was younger, but she really became interested just a couple of years ago when she was a member of the Obion County Fair Show. She said fellow members of the cast encouraged her to enter the fair beauty pageant. At the age of 15, she won second maid in the Teen Miss pageant. Then last year, she won Obion County Fairest of the Fair, placing first maid at the state level.
The daughter of Todd Guess and Tracy Guess, she said pageants were never something her mother pushed her into. “She’s not a big pageant mom,” she said, adding, “She’s shocked if I win.”
Two of her biggest supporters are her younger brothers — twins, Sam and Jack. Though, she said they have actually made fun of her, saying they can sing just as well as she does. She said she doesn’t really know where her talent for singing comes from because there is no one else in the family who sings.
“My family is supportive as long as I enjoy it,” she added.
Miss McConnell, daughter of Ty and Babette McConnell, had been in a few pageants sporadically through the years but never really had much success. She said it was after watching “Glamour Belles” that she sought the advice of the staff at Joann’s in finding the perfect dress. In her first pageant in that dress, she won Miss South Fulton High School. Since then, she has been crowned Miss Corn Fest and Miss International Banana Princess.
In November 2011, she entered her first preliminary pageant for Tennessee Teen Princess and was first maid. In January, she won a preliminary as Miss Parsons Peavine Teen Princess.
Published in The Messenger 3.15.12

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