Every little girl is a princess, but on April 29, it was Savannah Meketa, 12, who was crowned Little Miss Juneau. The daughter of John Meketa and Tasha Buzzell, Savannah is in sixth grade at Floyd Dryden Middle School and wowed the audience and judges.
The competition was stiff — competitors were first runner-up Abigail Hoy, who was also honored for her talent; second runner-up Marlene Donohue, who was most congenial; third runner-up Shai Skrzynksi, who excelled in hosting and popularity; Stephanie Eshnaur, who was most photogenic and was recognized for her costume; Leilani Eshnaur, scoring best gown; Ashlee Quirindongo, who was most friendly; and Mia Ruffin, recognized for her sportsmanship but was in Anchorage for a swim meet during the culmination of events that Sunday.
Five judges determined the awards that evening, scoring the girls on personality (30 percent), talent (30 percent), audience response (30 percent) and attitude (10 percent).
Ami Cooper was a judge, as well as a former competitor — she was crowned Little Miss Juneau in 1994. Pageants are a great confidence booster and a chance for girls to grow, stepping out of their comfort zones to practice public speaking and to show their gifts and talents in a way that’s rewarding at an individual level, she said.
“The Little Miss Juneau Pageant is a start bringing back such rewarding opportunities to young girls.” Cooper said.
Chris Hanson Cook was another judge and former Little Miss Alaska in 1959. She also was one of the sponsors of the event, which benefits Juneau senior citizens.
President of the Filipino Community, Inc., Jenny Stickler was also a judge and holds a pageantry title in Hawaii.
Josielind Ferrer, a former Little Miss Juneau competitor, judged and helped coach the girls.
Little Miss Juneau, Savannah Meketa, will take on responsibilities of fundraising, ribbon-cutting and riding in the 4th of July parade.
When asked how she would contribute to her community, Savannah said, “My contribution to the community is to recycle and pick up trash so we could have a cleaner place to live.”
In addition to seeing talents performed, hearing responses to questions and admiring the gowns and costumes, audience members could also experience performances from other community members.
Janice Holst had a group of dancers perform and the girls were serenaded by Aaron Abella, singing “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, while they donned their gowns. The runners up and Little Miss Juneau were serenaded by Ronnie Basa Jr. The competitors had help choreographing dance numbers from Nicole Solanoy and Ric Sagrado. Sagrado also hosted the event with Edilyn Cabio and Lanie Araneta.
Producers of the event were Marla Lumbab and Ronnie Basa, who also directed. Further help in production was provided by Macy Agne, Duvie Antonio and Rochelle Solanoy.
The event, which hasn’t been a regular occurrence in past years, is something the organizers, competitors and parents hope to see again. The contest is open to girls ages 6- to 13-years-old.
For more photos, visit the Empire online at juneauempire.com.