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Possibilities are ended with the BELLES

Prior to attending Saturday night’s &uot;Miss Teenage Gates County Pageant,&uot; I envisioned the event as &uot;just another beauty contest.&uot; I am delighted to let you know that it is far more valuable an experience than most such events.

While the sponsors of the event awarded a great number of wonderful and expensive gifts to the eight contestants, they reaped other, far more valuable rewards.

As the BELLES President JoAnn E. Williams said, observers of the pageant should look deeper than mere physical beauty. They should also examine the young women for intelligence, ambition, courage, poise, posture, enthusiasm and talent.

They proved their intelligence by answering questions in the interview portion of the program. Carla Renee Goodman, for example, answered that her &uot;knight in shining armor&uot; would have to love her for the person she is and all that she could be. I consider that good thinking for a 17 year old. A senior at Gates County High School, she also proved she has plenty of talent as she belted out &uot;I Believe,&uot; a song by Fantasia. Her voice was beautiful and strong enough to fill the school gymnasium where the event took place. She brought forth many cheers and a great deal of applause throughout her performance.

The 2006 winner of the pageant, Britany Nicole Nowell, also showed that she has plenty of talent and an abundance of faith in God. She performed an energetic and soul stirring mime to the Yolanda Adams song, &uot;Still I Rise.&uot; Much applause went out for this performance.

No pageant is complete without an evening gown competition and the young women wore their finest with poise and composure.

Ameshia Vaughan Holland was elegant in a navy satin empire gown resplendent with glittery trim.

Yolanda Mary Briggs was beautiful in burgundy, and Tomasina Fronta Golden was stylish is a gown of a fall umber brown.

Carla Renee Goodman wore a peach colored gown that accented her beauty, even though the BELLES claim it is not a beauty pageant.

Phylicia Quante Johnson wore an off the shoulder soft sea foam green gown and Shante` Monique Burke was as lovely as a rose in a pink and white gown.

Daz` Rel Danyell Griffin was regal in a white satin confection that accented her stately beauty.

As I said, I was surprised by the pageant. One fact that was obvious as each contestant took the stage; they all expressed their faith in God. Each of their performances reflected that fact and I believe their parents can take great joy in the poise and intelligence of each young lady.

Another fact that stood out was that the contestants have all received good teaching; both by their parents as well as school teachers. Each gave thoughtful and intelligent answers to questions on life situations during their interview portion in the pageant.

The BELLES promote this event, for 24 years now, as one in which they accent the growth and development of the girls’ thorough self-awareness and self-worth. As I see it, each of these young women is headed for success as proven by past winners like Courtney Ann Williams (2005), now a freshman at NC State, and Bridget Ann Jordon (2002), a senior at Elizabeth City State University.

Education for these and many more young women is made possible through the $500 scholarships provided each year by the BELLES and ticket sales to the annual pageants.

I don’t know about the rest of the community, but as for me, I do plan to attend this important event each year. I would urge others to take a look at the contestants as they enter the 2007 pageant next summer. Take a look and consider the possibilities for your daughter.