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Ladies in waiting

Pageant contestants prepare for July competition in Nazareth

By TARA MAGUIRE, Sentinel reporter, tmaguire@lewistownsentinel.com
POSTED: June 30, 2008

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LEWISTOWN - The annual press conference and wardrobe showing for the Miss Central Pennsylvania and Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen contestants was held Sunday evening at the Burnham Lions Community Building.

Miss Central Pennsylvania contestant Eka Akpakip and Miss Greater Juniata Valley contestant Anna Welsh are preparing to travel to Nazareth in July to vie with 52 other young women in the statewide competition.

Additionally, Miss Central Pennsylvania Outstanding Teen contestant Erica Bristor and Miss Greater Juniata Valley Outstanding Teen contestant Hannah Timm will follow and arrive in Nazareth to compete a day later.

Three of the four contestants said they began participating in pageants at a young age.

"I started when I was 8 years old because of a cute dress. Pageants are my sport," Welsh said. "This is my highest achievement so far."

Welsh, 21, is originally from Brookville. She is a senior at Clarion University, majoring in political science with a concentration in pre-law and minoring in history. She said her career ambition is to successfully practice criminal or family law.

Contestant Erica Bristor said she remembers her first competition was around the age of 8, on a wooden stage.

"I remember that wooden stage because I got a splinter in my toe," Bristor said.

Bristor, 16, of Waynesburg, is a junior in high school with a 4.0 GPA. She plans to attend a four-year college and then continue her education to obtain a medical degree.

Timm said she started competing when she was 12.

"I loved singing and tapping. I have been doing that since I was 2," she said.

Timm, 16, is a tenth grader, of St. Marys. She said her career ambition is to be part of an acting company or playhouse after majoring in theatre or vocal performance.

Akpakip, of Hughesville, said she is relatively new to pageants.

"I started (pageants during) my sophomore year in college at school in Virginia. I was second runner up and it came as a complete shock to me," Akpakip said. "When I came home to Pennsylvania, I entered into the Miss Central Pennsylvania pageant and won."

Akpakip, 22, is a graduate of Washington and Lee University. She now attends Georgetown University Law Center in pursuit of a law degree. She said her career ambition is to finish law school and pursue government work.

Each of the four contestants said their family is their number one support system, and without them they would not be able to compete at this level.

For more information about the Miss Central Pennsylvania pageant, visit the Web at misscentralpa.org, or call John Metzger at 248-5576.

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