A 21-year-old University of Washington student, a novice participant in pageants, was crowned Miss Pierce County 2013 Saturday night in ceremonies at Curtis High School.
Haley Nicholson of Puyallup will compete in the Miss Washington scholarship program this summer in Burien for a chance to represent the Evergreen State in the Miss America competition. That competition is returning to Atlantic City this fall after eight years in Las Vegas. The pageant began in 1921 in the New Jersey coastal city.
The 2013 Miss Pierce County contest, the 40th for the local area, was only the second pageant for the University of Washington Tacoma communications major. Her first was last years Miss Pierce County competition. She receives a $3,500 scholarship as Miss Pierce County and an additional $500 award from the Gig Harbor Rotary Club for being named Miss Congeniality.
Her interest in entering the scholarship competition was spurred when a family friend took her to the Miss America competition when she was a high school senior, she said.
I was impressed how down-to-earth, polished, dedicated and classy were those women who competed, she said.
She began cultivating her interest in community service when she attended a womens conference where former congresswoman Linda Smith spoke of young girls who were kidnapped, abused and forced into prostitution by sex traffickers.
Nicholson in the last 18 months has developed and presented a curriculum in partnership with the non-profit group CareNet to educate young girls about the dangers of the sex trade.
Her performing talents as a singer, dancer and actress have been years in development. Ive been performing and singing since I was 2, she said.
Nicholson works with children and adults in creating music and drama presentations at her church, Champions Centre, and aspires to be a television news anchor.
In Friday's Miss Pierce County Outstanding Teen contest, 16-year-old Brooke Williams of Auburn won top honors. Williams is a Pierce College advance-placement student.
Other winners in Saturdays Miss Pierce County contest were Shannon Tuohy of Lakewood, first runner-up; Melissa Vincent of Tacoma, second runner-up; Anikka Abbott of Gig Harbor, third runner-up; and Madison Treyz of Puyallup, fourth runner-up.
John Gillie: 253-597-8663