SEASIDE — “Oh my goodness!” Hannah Garhofer said after being crowned Miss Clatsop County. “So many emotions right now! I’m thankful for this opportunity to serve Clatsop County, because it truly takes a village to raise a child. And they have raised me for the past 20 years.”
Garhofer was one of three young women awarded the Miss Clatsop County Scholarship Program’s top honors Saturday night at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center. Winners receive scholarship awards while serving as ambassadors to the community.
Nicole Ramsdell, 15, of Astoria was selected Miss North Coast’s Outstanding Teen. She attends Astoria High School.
Peyton Sims was named Miss Clatsop County’s Outstanding Teen. Sims, 13, is an eighth-grader at Broadway Middle School in Seaside.
More than beauty
The annual scholarship program — celebrating its 67th year — is far more than a beauty contest.
Program director Sandy Newman said judges evaluate the “overall package,” with winners serving as ambassadors for the county at parades, charitable and special events.
Judges seek “somebody who’s likable, can go with the flow,” Newman said. “Great speaking skills are very important.”
Garhofer entered her first contest while an eighth-grader at Broadway Middle School in Seaside. She was named Miss Clatsop County Teen in 2013.
“Over the past six years I’ve evolved into the woman I am,” she said onstage after the show. “I am so thankful for this organization.”
She was chosen among four Miss Clatsop County contestants, joined by Anna Kaim, Hayliehe Bell and Kayla Warwood.
Garhofer is a student at Northwest Christian University. During her winning talent display, she tap-danced to “Emergency” by Icona Pop and described her platform as “Live Your Dash — Leave Your Legacy.”
Garhofer also won service above self, fitness and congeniality awards.
Outstanding teen Sims wowed judges with an emotional rendition of composer Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” while Ramsdell’s performance of J.P. Cooper’s “We Were Raised Under Gray Skies,” and a platform of promoting school and community music programs contributed to her success.
Along with recognizing the talent of the county’s young women, Miss Clatsop County Scholarship program distributed thousands of dollars in scholarship funds.
“I think the experience of interviewing with a panel of judges for 10 minutes is invaluable,” Newman said. “You have no idea what questions they are going to ask. They are applying for a job of Miss Clatsop County. Potentially Miss Oregon, potentially Miss America.”
Contestants gain self-confidence and skills in interviewing and public speaking, Newman added. “Some of these girls have been competing as teens and now onstage today. In fact, all four Misses competed as teens. Seeing them grow is just amazing.”
Next up for competitors: the Miss Oregon and Oregon’s Outstanding Teen competition in Seaside at the end of June.
“I will be going to Miss Oregon at the end of June,” Garhofer said as she enjoyed congratulations from organizers, family and friends. “I am so thankful for this opportunity! And I cannot wait to represent Clatsop County!”