By PLANET STAFF

Three young ladies — Campbell Neely, Yolina Lindquist and Kaitlyn Williams — will represent Massac County in separate pageants related to the Miss Illinois title next week. For the 10th year, the festivities will be held at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.

“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 10th year,” said Ashley Hatfield, Miss Illinois board chairman.

Tickets are available from the Marion Cultural and Civic Center box office by calling 618-997-4030 or visiting www.marionccc.org.

Cast a vote

Area residents can vote now at the Miss Illinois website, www.missillinois.org, for the princess photogenic competition. Voting will end at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 17, with 100% of the audience votes determining the final winners of the photogenic award. Only one vote per IP address is allowed.

The princess photogenic competition will feature three Miss Metropolis Mentoring Princesses: Mikenna Hamilton, the 7-year-old daughter of Freda Walker and Michael Hamilton; Emerson Eskridge, the 10-year-old daughter of Austin and Carly Eskridge; and Leja Lindquist, the 8-year-old daughter of Leila Lindquist and Lars Lindquist. They will be making an appearance during the pageant festivities.

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.

Miss Illinois Scholarship PageantDuring two nights of competition, 25 young women from across the state will compete for the opportunity to represent Illinois at the 2021 Miss America Pageant at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, this December. Preliminary phases of competition, including “red carpet” evening wear, talent and on-stage interview, will be contested in two separate prelims on Thursday, June 17, for the Miss Illinois contestants.

Campbell Neely, Miss Metropolis 2020-21, will compete in the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, June 19, vying for the title of Miss Illinois 2021.

Neely won the title of Miss Metropolis in October 2019. Her social impact initiative is “See the Need — Be the Change: VOLUNTEER.”

To promote her platform, she has spent her nearly 2-year reign doing various volunteer projects including: reading at Franklin Elementary School; working at chili suppers; shopping for Angel Tree gifts; Christmas caroling; serving as the Metropolis Elementary School cheer coach and attending all ballgames and practices; worship leader for her church’s New Beginnings group; making and delivering Valentines in the community; picking up trash along roadways; hiding Easter eggs; picking up and delivering medications to the elderly; meal deliveries; delivering Weekend Blessings bags during the lockdown; speaking at the First Baptist Church Girls Conference; and teaching Children’s Bible lessons at the First Baptist Church. Many of these volunteer activities were done for many weeks and while she was attending classes for her teaching degree.

Neely also has a Facebook page she uses to post about organizations looking for volunteers and encourages the public to get out and help.

Neely, 20, is the daughter of Greg and Carrie Neely of Metropolis.

Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 2021

Eighteen Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Contestants will vie for the chance to represent Illinois at the 2021 Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Florida, July 26-30. There are no prelims for the Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Candidates this year.

Yolina Lindquist, Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen 2020-21, and Kaitlyn Williams, Miss Shawnee Sweetheart Outstanding Teen 2020-21, will compete for the title of Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 2021 on Friday, June 18.

Lindquist was appointed Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen at the Miss Metropolis Pageant in October 2019 and has since been making appearances and promoting her platform “YES! Youth Empowerment with Style” as the pandemic allowed.

As part of her platform efforts, Lindquist spoke at many of the local grade schools about self-love and not letting anyone put them down. She read stories to the younger grades, and she spoke to local businesses across Metropolis, as well as the Kiwanis Club, about her platform and her journey to Miss Illinois. Lindquist also spearheaded a program at the Metropolis Public Library to give the youth another venue to come hear her speak about empowerment and self-worth called “The Empower Hour,” which was scheduled to kick off the month COVID-19 shutdowns happened, so it’s still in the wings ready to take off when it is allowed.

COVID restrictions superseded many of the activities and community service the titleholders normally participated in, but Lindquist managed to speak to the Boy Scouts and help carry and put away food items for the Weekend Blessings backpack program. She also made jewelry that was sold to help fund her Miss Illinois trip.

Today, she continues to spread her message of self-love with her Motivational Monday program on her Facebook page, and mentor the princesses in the Princess Mentoring Program, as well as the local elementary children. 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.

Lindquist, 17, is the daughter of Lars Lindquist and Leila Lindquist of Metropolis.

Williams was appointed the Miss Shawnee Sweetheart Outstanding Teen title in October 2019 and, like her sister teen queen, has spoken and read books to the Metropolis Elementary School students about her platform “Stronger Together.”

In spite of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Williams was able to: do a Kindness for Heroes program, where she delivered notes to local police and fire department heroes; made and delivered Christmas cards to the local nursing homes; made “Happy Birthday” videos for children to enjoy during the lockdown; and recorded the book “The Three Questions,” which was sent out to the first- and second-grade classes of MES. Williams also spoke to the Boy Scouts about her platform and being a servant leader and then helped carry in and put up supplies for the Weekend Blessings backpack program. She was and has been involved in many activities with the Metropolis’ Mentoring Princess program.

Williams is the 18-year-old daughter of Lewis and Casey Williams of Metropolis.

Working together

Some other community service Neely, Lindquist, Williams have been involved with include: a Trunk-or-Treat at St. Paul Lutheran Church; hosting a table at the Rebuilding Together Dinner; riding in the Christmas parade; and participating in the Hometown Christmas Library activities and then lighting the first-ever community Christmas tree. They have also attended and hosted many princess parties for the Princess Mentoring Program and spearheaded a Valentine making project for a sister queen who needed a little extra love. All three made and sold jewelry to help with Miss Illinois expenses.

“These girls have been busy serving their community in spite of the restrictions given them with the COVID lockdown, and they are the first ever to serve a second year before competing at Miss Illinois due to the year of the pandemic. Leesa (Foster, co-director) and I are very proud of their efforts” said Sandy Farmer, executive director of the Miss Metropolis Scholarship Organization.

2021 Miss Metropolis Scholarship Pageant set

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 2021 Miss Metropolis Scholarship Pageant scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 17. 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. 17.

In conjunction with the local pageant is the Princess Mentoring Program. Open to girls ages 5-12, every girl who participates gets 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 Farmer at 618-645-0363 or Foster at 618-638-6507 or email missmetrodir @hotmail.com after Aug. 1.

The Miss Metropolis Scholarship Organization can also be found on Facebook at Miss Metropolis Scholarship Organization; on Instagram at missmetropolisorg; or its website at https:/missmetrodir.wixsite.com/missmetropolisorg?. Sign-up will also be available during the Superman Celebration, July 30 through Aug. 1.

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