Two young women were crowned new title-holders in the Miss Lake Norman Scholarship Pageant, including 17-year-old Caroline Sumner from Mooresville, who won Outstanding Teen.
The other top winner was Holland Felts of Statesville, who won Miss Lake Norman.
The Feb. 19 event was held at the Mooresville High School auditorium, where family and friends cheered on the women as they competed in categories such as talent, swim wear and evening gown.
The pageant had two divisions: Miss Lake Norman, for women between the ages of 18 and 24, and Outstanding Teen, for women between 13 and 17. Five women competed in each division.
Erica Dewey, who co-directed the pageant with her mom, Darlene Hoffman, said the event is empowering for young women, and gives them the opportunity to promote important issues and community involvement as well as provide for their education.
Dewey was a local pageant title-holder in Pennsylvania, and Hoffman was on the Ms. Pennsylvania board of directors for over a decade, Dewey said. After they moved to the Lake Norman region about seven years ago, they decided to start the Miss Lake Norman Scholarship Pageant in 2010.
"It's a great launching platform for young women," Dewey said. "Many state and local title-holders have gone on to do amazing things."
The night started off with a slight technical glitch when Brandi Alden, Lake Norman's Little Miss Preteen, launched into the National Anthem, but her microphone wasn't working. Even without the aid of speakers, her strong, clear voice still rang through the auditorium.
The pageant's first competition was on-stage interviews, where each woman was asked a question about her "platform." Issues ranged from fighting cancer and instilling confidence in young girls to helping the underprivileged.
In discussing her platform, Felts explained how she raised $5,000 at Elon College to help fight breast cancer, and that her career goal is to become a physician's assistant.
Between individual competitions, performers from Rhythm in Effect Dance Studio in Huntersville entertained the crowd, as did 2010 Outstanding Teen and Miss Lake Norman title-holders.
Following the on-stage interviews, the Miss Lake Norman contestants competed in the swimsuit category, while Outstanding Teen contestants competed in physical fitness and aerobic wear.
The pageant's host, Claudia King, said the six-judge panel was looking for qualities such as confidence, presence, energy and composure during this part of the competition.
Next was the talent competition, the most important category in the event, as it accounted for 35 percent of each contestant's overall score. Judges based their scores on overall ability, stage presence, technical skill and creativity, King said.
Performances included piano recitals, ballet, jazz and hip-hop dancing, as well as a vocal performance. Beth Smith of Charlotte won in the Miss Lake Norman talent category for her graceful and precise ballet performance, while Sumner was the Outstanding Teen talent winner for her impressive lyrical dance performance, a fusion of ballet, jazz and contemporary techniques.
Before the winners were announced, Miss Lake Norman 2010 Sarah Portela and Miss Lake Norman Outstanding Teen 2010 Ashtin Gill said farewell. Both women said the past year had changed their lives, and while they were sad to give up their crowns, they were excited about what the future holds.
As winners of the Miss Lake Norman Scholarship Pageant, both Felts and Sumner are one step closer to vying for state and national pageants, including Miss North Carolina and Miss America. Felts received a $500 educational scholarship, and Sumner received a $100 savings bond. They also received memberships from Sports & Fitness of Charlotte, a cocktail dress from Classic Bride and Formals, a gift certificate from Reign Fine Apparel, services by Savvy Salon and Day Spa, and a gift basket from Dancing Lily Unique Gifts.