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Cooper pageant to raise scholarship funds

Published 11:19am Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cooper Community Center will hold a pageant Saturday afternoon, with the aim to use proceeds to develop a scholarship foundation.

“This is going to be our first Cooper Community Center Pageant,” said Michael Goggans, community center director. “(We are) trying to find ways to get more of the community involved so we decided to do a pageant.”

The pageant which will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday and cost $4 admission, will feature 18 girls ages 1–18 divided by age group.

“I think it was a pretty good turnout for the first year,” Goggans said. “We expect the turnout to be a lot better next year.”

Contestants will be judged in five categories for a total of up to 100 points. Goggans said each participant will choose her own outfit, from typical pageant dresses to holiday attire.

“We know Easter is right around the corner, so if they have an Easter dress they can wear that,” Goggans said.

Benita Willoughby, one the coordinators of the pageant who will also serve as one of the judges, spoke positively about the pageant’s impact on the participants.

“I think it’s a great learning experience for the girls there,” Willoughby said. “It’s going to help them build confidence and self-esteem.”

Willoughby said her experience in pageantry comes both from her own participation growing up as well as with her daughter, Mackenzie Willoughby, who has participated in a number of pageants and will be helping the Cooper contestants prepare Friday night before the event Saturday.

Proceeds from the pageant will go toward S.T.A.R.S., or Steps Toward A Rising Success – the center’s effort toward building a scholarship fund.

“We want to pretty much split the money between our top graduating boy and girl,” Goggans said. “It’s all about getting everybody back involved and try to get a scholarship fund to enable our outstanding youth.”

Goggans said they hope the community will support the pageant.

“I expect a big turnout from the kids’ families,” Goggans said. “We try to do things the right way. We have it set up nice.”

Pageant coordinators are Benita Willoughby, Tamkie Massengale and Carmen Gaddis.

For more information, call the Cooper Community Center at 256-234-9993.

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