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Local girl is crowned Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen
June 9 was a big day for 16-year-old Mary Bauer of Cape Girardeau. After competing against 28 teens in front of a panel of six judges, Mary was crowned Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen.
"I was inspired to do pageants because they are a great way to set a good example for teens and to promote my platform," Mary said.
Mary chose to promote awareness and support for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. In eighth grade, Mary went to St. Jude and met with a cancer survivor. She said she was inspired and decided to help promote St. Jude's cause. Mary's grandparents also died of cancer, which prompted Mary further.
She has helped with fund-raisers for the hospital, including the Dream Home Giveaway and sending Valentines to the patients at St. Jude.
Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen is held in conjunction with the Miss Missouri Pageant. The pageants were held at the same time in Mexico, Mo., at Emmons Hall. Miss Missouri is open to 18- to 24-year-olds, while Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen is open to 13- to 17-year-olds. Mary plans on competing in the Miss Missouri Pageant when she turns 18.
Qualifications of Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen include individual interviews with a panel of judges, evening wear competition, a talent segment, an on-stage question portion and lifestyle and fitness in sportswear.
The girls in the pageant submit their school transcripts and are quizzed on state and national current events.
"The girls have to be intelligent kids," said Teresa Bauer, Mary's mother. "She's going to represent the state of Missouri, so she has to be well versed."
Before she won the crown, Mary won the preliminary award in evening gown and talent. She sang "Popular" from the Broadway musical "Wicked." The song couldn't have described her better, as she was also voted "Miss Congeniality" by her peers.
First runner-up to Mary was her friend, 15-year-old Julie Mothershead, Miss Jackson. Julie also won the preliminary award for evening gown.
Mary and Julie have been friends since the sixth grade. They are both dancers at the Academy of Dance Arts in Cape Girardeau.
Mary and Julie also competed against each other last year at the Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen. The girls said the competition did not affect their friendship. In fact, it strengthened it, they said.
"We were both really excited," Mary said. "We were jumping up and down and Julie turned to me and said, 'If you are going to Orlando, I'm going with you!'"
Julie and Mary plan to go to Orlando, Fla., for the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant in August.
Bauer won $2,000 in scholarships, along with $1,000 for the evening gown competition and another $1,000 for winning the overall pageant.
"There is tremendous scholarship opportunities," Teresa said. "That's really the main reason Mary started these, and to perform and use her talent."
Along with the scholarships and the crown come responsibilities. The duties as Miss Missouri's Outstanding Teen include setting a good example for teens everywhere, promoting her platform, and appearances at various events such as the SEMO District Fair and other promotional activities.
Mary will be a junior at Notre Dame Regional High School. She is on the dance team for Notre Dame and the Academy of Dance Arts, in addition to the Spanish Club and the Pep Club.
Christina Chastain is a contributing writer for the Southeast Missourian.