In what might be thought of as a preview of this year’s Miss Jersey pageant, some area queens will be sharing their talents and platforms at a fundraising luncheon held by the local Eastern Star Chapter from noon to 3pm on April 5th. The luncheon will include homemade soups, assorted sandwiches, green leaf salad, assorted desserts, and coffee, tea and water. The event will held at the Musconetcong Lodge (Rt. 46 & International Drive South) in Budd Lake. Tickets will be $10 each.
Those queens appearing will be Miss Coastal Shore 2014 , Cierra Kaler Jones, of Galloway; Miss Gateway 2014, Angie Abdelrehim of Verona; , and Miss Tri-County 2014, Ellen Chu of Park Ridge. In addition, Samantha Rizzuto, of Long Valley, Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen 2014 and Miss Gateway’s Outstanding Teen 2014,Alexis Mott of Hopatcong, will also be on hand.
Coordinating the event is Sharon Rosequist of Netcong. She is the Executive Director of the Miss Tri-County pageant, which is part of the Miss American organization.
“Since both organizations are non- profit, and since I work so hard helping the girls achieve their goal, I came up with the idea for them to help my Eastern Star chapter raise money for our charities. The national platform for Miss America is Children’s Miracle Network, and one of our many charities is Shiner’s Children Hospital for crippled children. The girls are always willing to help out. This is also a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the girls to practice their talent. Some of them have not performed since they were crowned at their local pageant. I offer this opportunity to all of the local titleholders. It is a fun day and affords the titleholders a chance to practice explaining their platform in a public setting, and perform their talent…..”
Performances will include belly dancing, lyrical dance, Ballet en Pointe, and classical singing.
As varied as the talents, are the platforms which the queens champion. Chu, who has congenital hearing loss, will discuss “Overcoming Obstacles: Disabilities Awareness. She wants others coping with disabilities to know that they are not alone, and that a request for assistance is not a cry for attention. Support and resources are provided for a reason: to help everyone succeed Third runner up in last year’s Miss New Jersey pageant is Kaler Jones, who as this year’s Miss Coastal Shore, will speak on “ Empowering Today’s Youth Through Arts Education”. Miss Gateway 2014, Abdelrehim, will talk about “Raising Cultural Awareness: Redefining ‘All American’.”
Rizzuto’s platform,is “Balancing the Equation”, which focuses on the need to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and math programs for younger students in New Jersey and the United States Rizzuto, a junior at the Math, Science and Engineering Academy located at Morris Hills High in Rockaway, has created a program called STEM-CAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics through building Confidence, changing Attitudes, and Mentoring). The program, held at various area libraries, introduces these subjects to younger students in fun ways. It received a grant from Dosomething.org in 2013
As Miss Gateway’s Outstanding Teen 2014, Mott will talk on a platform that has touched her life through a family friend: MLD (Metachromatic Leukodystrophy) Awareness. MLD is a condition that affects 1 in every 20,000 persons. It is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme arylsulfatas. Without the enzyme, the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system fail to function properly. The son of a family friend has this condition and that is how Mott became aware of it. She has participated in walks for it and hopes to bring about more awareness by having it as her platform
In reflecting on what being able to share their platforms at such a venue means, Chu shared, “These type of appearances where we discuss our personal platforms, which are often times dedicated to causes that are important to us, serve as part of our greater initiative to remind the general public that the world is not perfect. By promoting our platforms, we hope to educate those to listen, empowering them to feel compelled to either support our cause or find something that resonates within them and get involved. A simple education on a public issue is sometimes all it takes to inspire, motivate, and encourage – and that’s what we aim to achieve through these informal, candid discussions on our platforms. As for sharing our talent, we all each have our own interests and hobbies that we are equally passionate for. Aside from a performance perspective, to be able to share our other passions with an audience enables us to combat the stereotypes associated with beauty queens. The audience gets to see us in a different facet of our lifestyles.”