Rachel Allison crowned Miss Ligonier 2013
By Cami Dibattista
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Smiling behind a bouquet of flowers with a tiara on her head, Rachel Allison accepted the title of Miss Ligonier 2013 last weekend at Ligonier Valley High School. This year's pageant drew in more participants and played host to a larger crowd than ever before.
“We had an abundance of girls with wonderful talents to showcase,” said J. Paul McCracken director of the pageant. “It was difficult to choose. We're so blessed in our community to have ladies of this caliber.”
The 53rd annual Miss Ligonier Scholarship Pageant, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Ligonier, had a record-breaking 25 participants for this year's event.
McCracken said the Rotary Club was surprised and thrilled with the large number of participants. “We considered ending the pageant after last year's small amount of participants but now we know there's definitely still interest,” he said.
Allison was crowned by Miss Ligonier 2012, Phebe Cornell.
“They were all wonderful contestants but I think Rachel was a great choice for Miss Ligonier,” Cornell said. “She's very social in the community and well-spoken and those are both things that it takes to be a great leader and a great Miss Ligonier.”
In addition to being crowned Miss Ligonier 2013, Allison, daughter of Ken and Christine Allison and a junior at Ligonier Valley High School, won a $2,500 scholarship to be used towards the college or university of her choice.
“I'm honored to have the opportunity and to have been selected,” said Allison. “I was shocked to hear my name being called. It was exciting, yet overwhelming. It was definitely one of the best nights of my life.”
Allison hopes to attend the University of Pittsburgh and pursue a career in the pharmaceutical field.
A member of Ligonier Valley varsity cross-country team and National Honor Society, Allison has volunteered her time to a number of community activities such as the Ligonier Valley Food Bank, Relay for Life and the Donna Lee Benefit Dance for cancer treatment. She has logged more than 120 hours performing community service.
“I think the Rotary Club is a good fit to sponsor the pageant because their motto is ‘service above self' and that is a quality Miss Ligonier should possess,” said Allison.
Allison said she looks forward to performing her duties as Miss Ligonier, especially the Fort Ligonier Days parade, which happens to fall her birthday weekend.
Winner of the first runner-up title and a $750 cash award was senior Jiselle Bubin of Laughlintown. Bubin, daughter of Gary and Camille Tarr, plans to attended Duke University and pursue a career as a physician's assistant. Her community service activities include the Red Cross blood drive, Relay for Life and participation in Teens Against Tobacco Use.
Second runner-up was awarded to senior, Gina McKlveen, daughter of Mark and Belva McKlveen of Stahlstown. McKlveen aspires to be a congresswoman or political figure. She received a $500 cash award.
The Rotary Community Service Award and a $250 cash award was given to senior April Goodman, for best exemplifying the community-minded spirit of the Rotary Club. A resident of Stahlstown, Goodman, 17, plans to attend St. Vincent College and major in international business. She has volunteered her time and efforts to events such as Relay For Life, the Business and Professional Women of Ligonier Valley's fashion show fundraiser and peer mentoring.
Judging this year's event was Ginny Clara of Hempfield, Sherry Houch of Greensburg and Melanie-Jo Smartnick of Pittsburgh. They took into consideration the scholastic achievement, community service and extra-curricular activities of participants.
Miss Ligonier 2013 and her court will represent Ligonier throughout the year by participating in parades and community activities.
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