Taylor Zaborski, 17, left, pauses with Southview teacher Brandi Shepard, winner of the 1999 state title. Taylor says she has been involved in dance and gymnastics since she was 2 and believes she'll be competitive in categories requiring physical ability.
A Sylvania Southview High School senior is to represent Lucas County in the Distinguished Young Women of Ohio Pageant this month.
Taylor Zaborski, 17, is to be at the contest in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Feb. 18 to 25. A victory there would send her to the national contest in Mobile, Ala., in late June.
The prizes are cash scholarships for college. The contest is open only to girls in their senior year. Contestants compete in categories including mental alertness, personality, clarity of expression, strength, and stamina.
Taylor said she has been involved in dance and gymnastics since she was 2 and believes she'll be competitive in the categories that require physical ability.
The contest formerly was called the Ohio Junior Miss Pageant, according to Brandi Shepard, drama and speech teacher at Southview, who took the state title in 1999 and went to the national competition in Mobile.
"It's a personal growth opportunity," she explained. "They really work on a girl's self-esteem and helping her grow as a person. In Mount Vernon, they are all stars. Their pictures are all over town -- on store fronts and light poles."
Contestants stay with a host family in Mount Vernon, and "I'm still in touch with my host family," Ms. Shepard said
Ms. Shepard said she encourages a couple of her students each year to enter. Taylor, she said, possesses all the qualities to be successful in Mount Vernon.
"She has excellent grades, she's talented, she's involved, and she is just a well-rounded young lady with a good soul and positive spirit," she said. "She also has the 'sparkle.' There are certain performers who just have the sparkle."