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Teens crowned in York pageant

By Jennifer Becknell
jbecknell@enquirerherald.com

YORK Six teen girls from York County and beyond competed for the titles of Miss York County Teen and Miss White Rose Teen 2014 Saturday night during a preliminary pageant in York.

Cece Hensley, a 15-year-old sophomore at Fort Mill High School, was the overall winner, and was crowned Miss York County Teen 2014.

Jessica Sparks, 14, an eighth-grader at Cowpens Middle School in Cowpens, was crowned Miss White Rose Teen 2014. She also won the People’s Choice award.

The pageant was open to teens across the state and held at the Sylvia Theater in downtown York. Contestants were judged on interview, platform, a talent performance and evening gown.

“They did great,” said pageant director Karen Fritz. “They were poised and elegant and I am really grateful and blessed that in my first year as director I had such wonderful representation. It was a really tough decision for the judges.”

About 100 people attended the pageant, Fritz said. Both girls crowned received $100 savings bonds and will represent York County at the state competition that is part of the Miss America Outstanding Teen, she said.

First runner up was Ashley Avore, 16, of York, who won a $50 savings bond.

Fritz said the Miss York County pageant has been rescheduled to February.

Hensley competed with a platform of animal abuse awareness and gave a belly dancing performance for her talent. She said she feels a need “to give a voice to animals because they can’t speak for themselves.”

Sparks, who has volunteered at a church food pantry that was started by her father, competed with a platform of feeding the hungry one bag at a time. For her talent, she did a lyrical dance that incorporated gymnastics.

The 2013 Miss York County Teen Vanna Sams passed her crown to Hensley. The 2013 Miss York Leslie Knight also attended to support the contestants.

The other competitors were Cheyenne McCraw, 15, of York, whose platform was special needs children; Gretta Sams, 12, of York, whose platform was concussion awareness; and Brooke Porter, 16, of York, whose platform was hunters helping kids. Porter received the spirit award.

The pageant honored York business owner Tracy Hammerle, who several years ago helped revive the pageant last held in 1977 by serving as director in 2011 and 2012. Hammerle will now be working with the state organization, Fritz said.

Master of ceremonies were Dr. Frank and Misty Konow, and introductions were given by Mayor Eddie Lee and Robert Winkler, president of the Greater York Chamber of Commerce.

The panel of judges included Jackie Mosely, who served as the auditor, and Charlie Kelley, Nancy Warren, Gretchen Craig and Dee Bodie.

Jennifer Becknell •  803-329-4077
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