Pageant offers education scholarships

Students from northeast central Durham will compete next month to win education scholarships.

 Isaiah Thomas, president of the group that organized the pageant, reviews applications. Photo credit: Myava Mitchell

Isaiah Thomas, president of the group that organized the pageant, reviews applications. (Staff photo by Myava Mitchell)

The Miss Durham Renaissance Pageant will offer four scholarships to help girls between the ages of seven and 11 pay for school supplies. The first place winner will receive $300. The runner up will receive $100. The third place winner and Miss Durham Congeniality will receive $50 each. The pageant will be held April 25. The location will be announced later.

“It was important for us to start this organization because there are too many kids who can’t afford educational supplies and don’t have anyone to look to for help,” said Isaiah Hughes, the president of Future Elegants of Durham, which organized the event. “The pageant is a way for young girls to get the educational supplies they need and have fun while doing it.”

The girls who participate must have satisfactory grades and good behavior in school. They will also need one organization from northeast Durham to sponsor them. These sponsors can range from restaurants to corporations. Community service is also a prerequisite to participate.

Organizers will select 15 contestants and five alternates. Applications, which carry a $5 fee, are available at businesses and elementary schools in northeast Durham.

“Any young girl eligible will be able to fill out an application,” organization coordinator Paula Reid said. “The pageant will give these girls more than educational supplies; it will teach these girls elegance and confidence.”

The child must be able fill out her own application, which, according to Hughes, will show independence and self-determination. The group has received 18 applications.

After the application process, auditions begin March 29. Auditions will prepare contestants for questions and pageant choreography.

The 20 girls selected will compete for the 2014 Miss Durham Renaissance title. The group that organized the pageant was created last month to help people in northeast Central Durham. Hughes and N.C. Central University student Terumi Dowdy organized the group. A professor and other NCCU students also joined the effort.

“This pageant will bring the best out of these girls,” Reid said. “They will be able to show themselves and the community how much talent and courage they have.”