The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|The pageant finale will air Saturday on ABC|
Friday, June 28, 2013
By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer
Three Franklin County women will vie for the title of Miss Virginia during the 2013 Miss Virginia Scholarship Pageant.
The pageant will be broadcast live Saturday, June 29 from the Roanoke Performing Arts Theater.
The reigning Miss Virginia 2012, Rosemary Willis, will relinquish her crown to the winner at the end of the final performance on Saturday.
Local women competing in the pageant this year include Miss Greater Franklin County, Mary Hannah Garber of Boones Mill; Miss Smith Mountain Lake, Nicole Wimmer of Union Hall; and Miss Martinsville-Henry County, Haylee Hunt of Penhook.
Garber, 20, is a 2010 graduate of Franklin County High School and is currently a senior at Virginia Intermont College in Bristol. Garber is majoring in musical theater.
"I would love to star on Broadway one day," she said.
Since being crowned Miss Greater Franklin County 2013, Garber has been speaking to students in Franklin County and Bristol about her platform, Preventing Childhood Obesity Through Physical Activities.
"One in three children are obese," she said. "If this trend continues, more children will start dying before their parents. I was an overweight child myself, and I think proper diet and exercises could prevent all this."
Garber said she has been working on her talent for the Miss Virginia Pageant from the moment she was crowned Miss Greater Franklin County. She will sing a musical selection titled "Yes," which was written by Kander and Ebb for Liza Minnelli.
Garber said she has been busy attending mock interviews and rehearsals, selecting her wardrobe and keeping up her physical appearance. She also teaches dance classes.
"I have had so much help getting ready for the pageant, and I want to thank everyone who supported me and helped me get where I am today," said Garber.
She is the daughter of Dr. Jeannie Garber of Boones Mill and Sam Garber of Bedford.
Wimmer, 22, graduated from Franklin County High School in 2009 and Patrick Henry Community College in 2012. She has an associate's degree in nursing and is currently enrolled in Radford University.
"I am working on a bachelor's degree in nursing," she said. "After that, I will continue my education and shoot for a doctorate. I want to become a nurse practitioner."
Wimmer's platform, You're the Cure - Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Choices, supports the American Heart Association.
Wimmer said her grandfather, Earl Wimmer, passed away from heart disease.
"His was the first death I've experienced in my life, and it had a very large impact on me and my family," said Wimmer.
She has busied herself speaking to students about the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
"I spoke to over 2,500 students this past year," she said.
Besides speaking, Wimmer has participated in over 30 mock interviews to prepare for the state pageant. She has also been taking trips to the hair salon and shopping for her wardrobe.
"It's been so crazy," she said. "I don't like to shop, so I've had to get used to that. I'm not good at styling my hair, so I've had to learn to right way to do that. And I've learned more information about makeup than I ever knew existed. I've never been this busy."
Wimmer also has been practicing her talent. She will sing "Alone" by Heart.
"I am so excited about the Miss Virginia Pageant," said Wimmer. "I competed once before in 2009, so I am familiar with what happens. But I am still a little nervous. A few butterflies are good, though."
Wimmer is the daughter of Wendell and Kim Wimmer of Union Hall.
Hunt, who took over the title of Miss Martinsville-Henry County in February after Bronwyn Hairston relinquished her crown, graduated from Franklin County High School in January and has already obtained an associate's degree in science from Virginia Western Community College.
The 18-year-old has been very busy choosing her wardrobe, working out, conducting interviews and practicing her piano routine for the talent portion of the pageant.
"I plan to perform a selection by Jack Fina called 'Bumble Boogie,'" she said.
Hunt's platform is Everyone's FITTs (Fighting Injustice Through Tolerance).
"Kids and adults both should learn to tolerate others' beliefs and dreams and accept each other as unique individuals," said Hunt.
She plans to share her platform with children and adults alike.
"You don't have to be out of high school to accomplish your goals," said Hunt. "Just because you are young, it doesn't mean you should hold back on your dreams."
Hunt plans to enroll in Radford University this fall as a junior biology major.
She is the daughter of Keith and Debbie Hunt of Penhook.
Bobbie Eakes, a four-time Emmy nominee, will be joining Walt Willy as co-hosts of the Miss Virginia Pageant. Eakes played the characters of "Krystal" on ABC daytime's All My Children and "Macy" on CBS daytime's The Bold & the Beautiful.
Willy played the character of "Jack" on All My Children.
Lindsey Norton from American's Got Talent 2012 will also be performing.
Garber, Wimmer and Hunt are three of 26 contestants in this year's pageant, which will be televised live Saturday on ABC at 9 p.m.