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A Week at Miss Utah

Miss Emery County Janell Jones and Miss Utah State Fair Barbara Burke

Miss Emery County Janell Jones finishes her talent with a smile.

Two Emery County contestants participated in the Miss Utah competition on June 9-14 in Salt Lake City. The competition this year was held in Abravanel Hall. Miss Emery, Janell Jones said, "It's been a blast to be here, more fun than I expected. We have had a lot of rehearsals for the production number. Wednesday night I participated in the swimsuit and an onstage question. My current event question was about the Main Street Plaza. My platform is suicide prevention for the youth. I did presentations for the ninth graders at Canyon View Junior High and San Rafael Junior High during the school year. I also did a presentation for high school classes and distributed pamphlets and yellow ribbons. It's important to stay and listen to people in need of help. Don't diminish their problems and don't give advice. Direct them to get help from appropriate sources. One of the teachers at San Rafael came up to me and told me to keep doing what I'm doing to raise awareness and I feel like it has been a success. I want to see suicide prevention programs in all the schools in Utah. They also need psychologists and more counselors in schools. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth, with accidents being first."

Jones went on to win the second attendant in the "Quality of Life" for Miss Utah. This award is given for their work and participation on their platforms. The contestants had to write an essay and submit letters of recommendation. They were also interviewed by a committee which chose the top three for awards. Jones was announced as second attendant at the gala that was held Saturday night after the concluding performance.

Jones has been attending Southern Utah University this past year, majoring in biology. "It's so interesting learning why people do the things they do. I want to be a therapist in a school and work with adolescent students."

"We are visiting the Huntsman Cancer Center while here in the city and we are performing our talent pieces at the South Town Expo Center. We have a hostess who is the chaperon for five girls and we can't leave the hotel without her. Her name is Peggy Bluff and she's been great; she runs to get anything we need.

"I was encouraged to enter the Miss Emery pageant by a lady I worked with. So, I gave it a shot and I won. It's been tough to coordinate speaking engagements with the schools and going to college, but it's been fun and I've learned a lot this past year. I don't get too nervous when performing if I can't see the audience and you do get used to it. I've made a lot of friends up here and the girls are amazing; they are so nice. There are two or three that are real competitive, but that's a lot less than I expected. Everyone is just here to have fun. There are 58 contestants. We had a 12 minute interview with the judges and they ask you about your platform and other questions. They asked what makes you laugh and I said being tickled. They asked how I accept criticism and I said I try to use it to become a better person. They also wanted to know what we would do if we were suddenly given $50,000 and I said I would go fishing. I love fishing," said Jones.

Barbara Burke competes in the evening wear event.

Barbara Burke is participating in Miss Utah 2003 as the representative from the Miss Utah State Fair. "We're having so much fun and Abravanel Hall is just amazing. The acoustics are so good. These 58 girls are just the best. I feel more comfortable this year. Last year, the competition was in Orem and this year it's so fun to be here in Salt Lake and everything is just so close together. We have our interviews here at the Crystal Inn and we can come back to the hotel to rest between our rehearsals and we're not stuck at the school like we were last year. It's such an experience to be here. You just have to be who you are and know that is good enough. No matter what happens. The first year I tried to compare myself to the other girls and you just can't do that because we're all different.

"Talent is my favorite competition and I sang, "If My Heart Had Wings," it is always a bit of a risk singing country at Miss Utah. I just love being on stage and performing and feeling the energy of the crowd. My most favorite part of being here is meeting all of the girls. They aren't snobby and they are all so nice. Our hostess just spoils us and brings us gifts all the time. This is the first year for the new Miss Utah board and they are really approachable and they care about the girls. I love the change of location because the pageant is a big deal and it feeds into the Miss America pageant.

"This past year I graduated from Snow College and I'm just starting at Brigham Young University. I'm in social work right now, but I might change my major. My platform is on mentoring. I attended the National Mentoring Conference that was held in Salt Lake and I have been involved in using the college community at Snow for mentoring in that community. The conference was great and gave a lot of ideas on recruitment. We attended a Stingers baseball game and brought the kids who are being mentored. We are working on a project to create a card that has a mentoring message on it, "Who Mentored You, Thank Them and Pass it On.

"I want people to catch the vision of mentoring in Emery County. The Youth and Families with Promise is the program available and works with mentors and youth. They have activities and help the children with their homework. There are so many mentors that help other people throughout their lives. The more support you have the more likely you are to succeed. Other than my family, my pageant directors have been great mentors for me. They taught me to be myself and know that was good enough. I couldn't have accomplished what I have without my mom, she always does all the paperwork and sends it in. My whole family came up to watch the talent competition. There are always things you have to work through and you just go out and do your best. Ferron City has been very supportive and they sent flowers to wish me luck and the fair board sent a huge bouquet of balloons and said they were proud that I represent them. It's just been awesome and I love it," said Burke.

Miss Provo, Stacy Johnson went on to be Miss Utah 2003. Barbara Burke finished as number 11 of 58 girls.

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