The road to the Miss America Scholarship Pageant starts long before the competing girls walk onto a nationally televised stage to represent their respective states.
In reality, it starts in small towns and cities—much like Hockessin—with girls leaving everything they have on stage before one uniquely qualified and outstanding young woman is chosen to move forward to the state competition.
This weekend, four such young ladies will bring whatever poise, beauty, intelligence and talent they have accumulated throughout their lives thus far in hopes of representing Hockessin at the state level. Sunday night's winner will also go home with scholarship money from Wilmington University as well as prizes from sponsors like All About Smiles, Silk: The Salon, Queen Nails Spa, Hockessin Day Spa, Designer Consigner Boutique, Route 40 Nutrition and Royal Jewelry Design.
Despite a hectic schedule this week preparing for the pageant, the girls took time to explain why they want to be Miss Hockessin, the charity they'll be representing and even a secret or two.
Hometown Liverpool, England
Hockessin connection She's lived in Hockessin since she was in the eighth grade
School The Charter School of Wilmington
College Plans Rigby has been accepted to Northeastern University in Boston with a $100,000 scholarship offer, Oxford University in England and St. Andrews in Scotland (the alma mater of Britain's Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge). She is still waiting to hear back from universities in the United States.
Platform Children's Cancer Research
Talent "Out Here on My Own"
Platform connection "My mother is a nurse on the oncology unit at AI duPont children's hospital so I have always felt a connection to the cause. Children take adult medicines in small doses, despite vast biological difference in the bodies of adults and children. I am highly dedicated to this cause and will continue to work at AI and other children's hospitals for as long as I live."
Why she wants to be Miss Hockessin "I want to be Miss Hockessin because I believe the Miss America Program does a lot of truly amazing work in communities around the nation, and I would love to be a part of that experience. It would be a great avenue through which to push my platform, and expose more people in our community to the disparity in funding between adult and childhood cancers.
A secret? "This is my first ever pageant and I have loved every minute of it. I have realy felt my confidence grow. Also, I came very close to singing and playing a song I wrote myself but I couldn't pass up the chance to belt out such a fabulous, heart-wrenching ballad like "Out Here on My Own."
Page 2 of 3 - Martha-Raye Adjei
Education Environmental Studies
Occupation Online marketing and web content
Platform Give Peas a Chance-Providing Hunger Relief in Delaware
Talent "Hunger," a monologue written by Global Women Go
More about her talent "It is an emotional piece about a mother who tells the story of her and her daughter, who do not have access to food. The mother hopes that one day, her daughter will have the chance to live a happy, healthy life. I hope to inspire the audience to help fight hunger in Delaware by donating food to the Delaware Food Bank or a least appreciating how lucky many of us are to obtain food and water on a regular basis."
Why she wants to be Miss Hockessin "It would be an honor to represent Hockessin on the Miss Delaware Stage this year. It would be an amazing opportunity to work with our amazing pageant director Shawna Wainright and her amazing team to prepare for Miss Delaware. Since I am from Hockessin and have lived here most of my life, winning the little would really mean a lot."
A secret? "I knew I wanted my talent to be related to my platform, so I thought the best way to communicate that would be through drama. I took classes at CEG Performing Arts Academy in Philadelphia to help me select a monologue that relates to hunger or foot shortage yet still is relevant to Miss America's theme of women empowerment and other issues facing our country today. Hunger is one of these relevant issues."
Hometown Born in Russia, she has lived in Wilmington for seven years
Hockessin connection She graduated from Wilmington Christian School
Currently attends University of Delaware
Major Music Therapy
Platform People Encouraging and Accepting Children Everywhere
How long she has been playing the violin "Ten years. .I chose a very well-known piece "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie "Titanic" because it touched my heart and I want it to touch people's heart in the same way.
Platform connection "In 2012, I attended and International Children's Festival in Ukraine. It has truly inspired me to create a better world. I want to encourage children to treat one another with kindness, to teach them to protect one's planet and to motivate youngsters to develop peaceful problem solving solutions."
Page 3 of 3 - A secret? "This is my second pageant. Competing in pageants has opened up countless opportunities to do community service and have motivated me to try to reach out to those in need. After hopefully winning a local title, I would like to encourage everyone to volunteer because ultimately giving out to the community is how you make the greatest difference."
Hockessin connection teaches at American Dance Academy and works at the Hockessin Athletic Center
Currently attends University of Delaware
Major Organizational and Community Leadership
Platform Success Won't Wait!
Talent "I'll Be Seeing You"
Platform connection "My sister cofounded Success Won't Wait back in 2002 and being an avid reader myself, there was no second about what I wanted to advocate. Thnking of kids not being able to hold books in their hands breaks my heart."
Why she wants to be Miss Hockessin "I want to use Miss Hockessin as a microphone to get the word out about literacy in the state. A lot of people don't know that the main reason most children can't read is because they don't have material to do so with. With the title and the Success Won't Wait charity, I can get the materials to the children while getting the message out."
A secret? "The song I have chosen is for my grandmother who passed away this October. Being named after her, we've always had a special connection. I have learned values, morals as traditions that I will one day pass on. She was the only living grandparent I ever knew and she was my biggest fan. This song was from our favorite movie "The Notebook", and to honor her as I sing I will wear a yellow ribbon with a daisy on it for her since our name translated in English is daisy and the meaning which depicts her so well is love and kindness."