Miss Greater Rockville pageant looks for contestants

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon/Region - posted Thu., Dec. 26, 2013
Miss Greater Rockville Gina Salvatore helps some young friends with their holiday attire. Photo by Steve Smith.
Miss Greater Rockville Gina Salvatore helps some young friends with their holiday attire. Photo by Steve Smith.

Preparations are gearing up for the third annual Miss Greater Rockville scholarship competition, set to take place on Feb. 15 at Rockville High School. The competition is open to young women ages 17 to 24, and the Miss Greater Rockville's Outstanding Teen competition is open to girls age 13 to 17.

This year's competition, a preliminary to the Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen competitions, is open to contestants who live, work or go to school anywhere in the state, and Executive Director Teri Rogers said there may be another, second “Miss” title offered if there are enough participants. Prize packages, including scholarships, are being determined, but will be larger than last year's, Rogers said.

There will be an informational/orientation session on Jan. 12, from 1 to 6 p.m., at Rogers's office at 116½ Grove Street in Vernon. Interested young women may stop by any time during that window to get information packets and ask questions. Head shots for the competition program will also be taken for those who need them.

The current Miss Greater Rockville, Gina Salvatore, is a 20-year-old acting student at the University of Connecticut. At a 'Breakfast with Santa' event on Dec. 21 at the Fox Hill Center, benefiting the Cornerstone Foundation, Salvatore said she hopes many local girls will consider taking part, because of the many benefits, win or lose, including fun and making friends.

Salvatore said she has met many young women in the Vernon area who are definitely suitable to fill the role, and said there are fewer barriers to taking part in the competition than many might think.

“You don't have to spend a ton of money,” she said. “I borrowed gowns from everyone, and I found a really cheap interview dress. Sometimes it takes a little time to find the less-expensive option, but you can do it. It's more about your personality and your confidence than about how much your clothes cost.”

Salvatore said that her experience in the Miss Connecticut Organization has given her a better sense of confidence. “I've always been confident,” she said, “but I don't think I've ever felt worthy of someone else's time when I'm on stage or in an interview. Now, when I'm on stage for the evening gown part of the competition, I feel like I'm worthy of the time that I take. It's that self-worth that I feel I've gotten from the program.”

Salvatore said she also appreciates the scholarship money she has earned, including some she earned while competing but not winning. She also values the interview experience, citing that it prepares young women for job interviews.

“You get more confident in yourself, and that's a great life trait to have,” she said. “If you can walk into a job interview with a beaming smile on your face, know how to talk to people, and be sure of who you are, then that will lead to success wherever you go.”

Salvatore said she also gained a passion for community service. While it was always a part of the way her parents raised her, she said it definitely was boosted during her reign as Miss Greater Rockville. “I've never had more of a drive, personally, to reach out to people in the community," she said. “This organization has instilled that in me,” she said, adding that she especially likes the positive affect she's had on young girls at Maple Street School. “Being the best person you can be really influences other people. I love being a good role model to girls, especially now, when media has too much of an influence on them.”

For more information, contact Miss Greater Rockville Executive Director Teri Rogers at tslingback@comcast.net.


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