Hawaii's Junior Miss 1997

Dear Friends:

Whenever I reminisce about my Junior Miss experience, I recognize how fortunate I am to have received the many opportunities and joyous memories the Junior Miss program affords. I send my warmest aloha to the Lord, my guide in all things, for blessing me with the honor of being the 1997 Hawaii's Junior Miss. For all their love, prayers and support, I thank my parents, my two sisters, Nesanet and Misrak, and my family at the Waialae Kahala Chapel. Mahalo also to all the program coordinators and sponsors who have ensured the success of the Junior Miss Program at both the state and national levels.

I've come across many individuals who, upon learning of my unique experience, react by saying, "Wow! You're a Junior Miss!" My reaction to my success is a slightly modified version of that exclamation: "Wow! You were in the Junior Miss Program!"I come away from the Junior Miss Program impressed and inspired. I spent an amazing two months participating in the state competition and two weeks at the nationals surrounded by and interacting with some of the nation's finest, most motivated, talented and focused young women. I remember the challenges that physical fitness routines, panel interviews and spotlighted moments in front of a vast audience presented. And I remember the satisfaction and confidence I gained after passing each one of them successfully. Through every stage of competition, I proudly represented my family, community and state, all the while finding support from my fellow friends and competitors.

I was also inspired by the spirit of community service displayed by the many program volunteers. Without these people, the Junior Miss Program would not exist; volunteers are the backbone of this organization. Their selfless devotion of time and effort is a social achievement truly worthy of recognition and emulation.

During my two-week stay in Alabama, I arrived at the conclusion that the Aloha Spirit exists in Mobile under the alias of southern hospitality. I am extremely grateful to my host family for giving me a warm welcome into their home. Jeanne, Rodgers, Zack, Kyle and the Chapman critters, thank you for all your support, the love turtle, and treating me like a princess. I shall remember your kindness always.

I can't help being excited for this year's contestants. Their commitment to the Program, despite the combined pressures of school work, college applications and preparation for what I know will be one of the greatest performances of their lives, is commendable. These young women are some of the best that Hawaii has to offer. I wish them all the best of luck!

Mahalo and Aloha,

Meseret Senaite Mitiku

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