Three young ladies will be representing Massac County in separate pageants related to the Miss Illinois title.

For the ninth year, the festivities will be held in Marion.

Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Pageant is being held at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center now through Friday.

Hope Pearcy, Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen 2019, and Gracie Stewart, Miss Shawnee Sweetheart Outstanding Teen 2019, will compete for the title of Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 2019 on Friday, with an evening gown and onstage question preliminary night on Wednesday or Thursday, June 12-13.

Madison Cunningham, as Miss Metropolis 2019, will compete in the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, vying for the title of Miss Illinois 2019.

Again this year, there was an opening ceremony for the Miss and Teen contestants on Wednesday at The Pavilion in Marion.

During three nights of competition, young women from across the state will compete for the opportunity to represent Illinois at the 2020 Miss America Pageant in a place and time to be announced later.

Twenty-one Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Contestants will vie for the chance to represent Illinois at the 2020 Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Florida this summer.

Preliminary phases of competition, including "red carpet" evening wear, talent and on-stage interview, will be contested on the nights of Wednesday and Thursday, June 12-13 for the Miss Illinois contestants, and evening gown/onstage questions the same two nights for the Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Contestants.

However, area residents can vote now at the Miss Illinois website, www.missillinois.org, for the princess photogenic competition, which features Miss Metropolis Mentoring Princesses Mikenna Hamilton, five-year-old daughter of Freda Walker and Michael Hamilton; and Emerson Eskridge, eight-year-old daughter of Austin and Carly Eskridge; who will make an appearance during the pageant festivities.

Voting will end at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 13. Only one vote per IP address is allowed. One hundred percent of the audience votes will determine the final winners of the photogenic award.

Also, again this year, individuals can vote for Illinois' People's Choice in the Miss and Teen categories. It is $1 per one vote and a person can vote as many times as they like for even more money. The girls with the most votes will become one of the semi-finalists at either Friday night's Teen Pageant or Saturday for the Miss Pageant.

Winners will be announced at the beginning of the Miss Illinois' Outstanding Teen Pageant and Miss Illinois Pageant.

"We will again enjoy the southern hospitality of the Marion Cultural and Civic Center and the City of Marion, as well as, the surrounding towns like Metropolis. We are very glad to be here for our ninth year," said Ashley Hatfield, Miss Illinois board chairman.

Tickets are available by phone through the Marion Cultural and Civic Center box office by calling 618-997-4030 or go to www.marionccc.org. Special package pricing is available.

Pearcy won the Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen Pageant in October 2018 and has since been making appearances and promoting her platform, Not Alone which champions Hope Unlimited.

As part of her platform efforts, Pearcy designed and sold a T-shirt which allowed her to donate $1000 to her platform cause. She also spearheaded a Junior Ambassador program for Hope Unlimited to increase awareness among her peers.

Pearcy has helped raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals over Memorial Day; serve meals with At The River Ministries; spoke at 4-H groups, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs; held a breakfast with a local church to raise money for Hope Unlimited; helped at the Tim Tebow Let Your Light Shine event; and made pancakes and served spaghetti for other fundraising groups.

She has many plans to do more fundraising and volunteering to finish out her year as Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen after Miss Illinois; should she not be crowned next week.

Pearcy, 16, is the daughter of Tim and Sherri Pearcy of Metropolis.

Stewart won the first-ever Miss Shawnee Sweetheart Outstanding Teen title in October and has been speaking at various organizations in town about her platform, Haiti Missions: Helping Develop Life Skills.

She has done many community service projects such as the Lion's Club Telethon roadblock; ringing the bell for the Salvation Army; attending many local pageants to support sister queens; participating in the local Christmas parade; and was involved in many activities with the Metropolis' Mentoring Princess program.

She also designed and sold a T-shirt to help raise funds to send Haitians to the agriculture training program that teaches them life skills- since it is unsafe to make her annual mission trip to Haiti this year.

Stewart is the 17-year-old daughter of Carl and Dacia Stewart of Golconda.

Cunningham won the title of Miss Metropolis last October. Her social impact initiative is FCA-Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

To promote her platform, she has spoken at a Massac County Junior High FCA meeting, as well as the local Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs about the importance of this program in the area and the state.

Cunningham has been a huddle leader for the last four years and will participate at the FCA Power Camp again this summer before heading to Murray this fall.

As a fundraiser for the Power Camp, Cunningham sold T-shirts she designed, and was able to donate several hundred dollars.

Cunningham also has helped at IHOP Pancake Day, raised money for Children's Miracle Network over Memorial Day weekend; worked the Lion's Club Telethon roadblock; rang the bell for the Salvation Army; helped at the Rotary/Kiwanis Scholarship Spaghetti Supper; and passed out band aids encouraging donations to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals for Miss America Serves Day.

Cunningham and Stewart also helped with the Super Silly kids games at the Superman Celebration, and the two of them along with Pearcy, helped judge the Little Supergirl/Superboy pageants.

Cunningham, 18, is the daughter of Jeff and Kim Cunningham of Metropolis.

The Miss America Organization is one of the nation's leading achievement programs and providers of scholarship assistance to young women.

Last year, the Miss America Organization, along with its state and local organizations, like Miss Metropolis, made available more than $40 million in cash and scholarship assistance.

Plans are underway for the 2020 Miss Metropolis Scholarship Pageant scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 20. It is open to young women, ages 18-25, who live, work or attend school or church in Massac County.

As well as, young ladies who attend Shawnee Community College or live in Pope or Johnson Counties.

The Outstanding Teen Scholarship Pageant, for girls ages 13-17, will also be held Oct. 20.

In conjunction with the local pageant is the Princess Mentoring Program. Open to girls, ages 5-12, every girl who participates get crowned and is mentored throughout the year by the local titleholders who will be competing for the title of Miss Illinois and Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen.

For more information, contact Sandy Farmer, local executive director, or Leesa Foster, co-director, at 618-645-0363 or 618-638-6507 or missmetrodir@hotmail.com after Aug. 1.

Individuals may also find them on Facebook at Miss Metropolis Scholarship Pageant.

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