By Jake Knight
After competing in the Miss Whatcom County Pageant for three years, Western Washington University student Lizzi Jackson, 22, was finally crowned Miss Whatcom County 2014. The pageant was held Sat. March 9 in Whatcom Community College’s Syre Student Center auditorium. Jackson beat six other contestants for the four-pointed crown.
“I’m still in shock and freaking out,” Jackson said. “I finally won!”
The Miss Whatcom County Scholarship Program is a contest where young women ages 17 to 24 compete for scholarships. “The young women showcase their talents, leadership skills and involvement in community service,” they said on their website.
Contestants must be high school seniors or enrolled full-time at a college in Whatcom County and must work full-time. Each woman chooses a philanthropic project to pursue and develop if she wins.
Nine scholarships are awarded to contestants, and each non-finalist is awarded $200.
In addition to being crowned Miss Whatcom County, Jackson won the Interview Scholarship and the Four Points of the Crown Award, amounting to $2,550 in scholarships total.
According to the Miss Whatcom County website, contestants are judged based on their performances in the five portions of the pageant: talent, private interview, evening wear, lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit, and their on stage responses to questions.
“You definitely get an adrenaline rush” when on stage, said pageant contestant Veronica Coughlin, 18.
Other than the evening wear and swimsuit portions, there were many notable performances in the talent section of the pageant.
Delaney Byrd, 19, a Whatcom student and pageant contestant who won the Talent Scholarship for her rendition of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” put on a show for the audience.
“It was so nerve-wracking, but thrilling. I was so nervous getting up there,” said Byrd. She also mentioned that she almost tripped during her performance, but persevered through the rest of her song.
Jackson gained loud applause from the crowd during her performance of Klaus Bedelt’s “He’s a Pirate,” on clarinet. “He’s a Pirate” is the theme song from “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Jackson’s philanthropic project is Compass to Campus: Investing in Our Future, a program at Western where college students mentor students in fifth through twelfth grade. Jackson will visit classrooms around Whatcom County to talk about the importance of mentors and mentorship programs and how people can get involved. She will graduate from Western in June, with a double major in Marketing and Management Information Systems. She wants to become a digital marketing manager at Disney Interactive.
As Miss Whatcom County 2014, Jackson will meet with with city and state officials, community leaders, and volunteer at Whatcom County events. She will also compete in the Miss Washington Scholarship Pageant in June.
“Miss Whatcom County makes many appearances throughout the year, at all of our community festivals. Ski-to-Sea, Pioneer Days, Birch Bay Days, Lynden Farmers Parade, Bellingham Children’s Festival, just to name a few. She also goes into schools, senior citizens centers, speaks at business events and works on her platform,” said Jim Swartos, the master of ceremonies for the pageant this year.
“Lizzi is my role model,” said Coughlin. “I think that she deserves it.”