Thursday, June 01, 2017 - Updated: 11:46 AMStaff Report
Two young ladies from Metropolis will represent Massac County in separate pageants related to the Miss Illinois title.
For the seventh year, the festivities will be held in Marion.
Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Pageants will be held at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center Tuesday, June 14 through Saturday, June 17.
Madison Cunningham, Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen 2017, will compete for the title of Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 2017 on Friday, June 16, with an evening gown and onstage question preliminary night on Wednesday, June 14.
Antonia Hutcheson, as Miss Metropolis 2017, will compete in the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant on Saturday, June 17, vying for the title of Miss Illinois 2017.
Again this year, there will be an opening ceremony for the Miss contestants on Wednesday, June 14 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at The Pavilion in Marion. Tickets for this can be purchased in advance from The Pavilion for $12 each.
During three nights of competition, young women from across the state will compete for the opportunity to represent Illinois at the 2018 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. on Sunday, Sept. 10.
Nineteen Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Contestants will be vying for the chance to represent Illinois at the 2018 Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Fla. this summer.
Preliminary phases of competition, including lifestyle and fitness, evening wear, talent and on-stage question, will be contested on the nights of Wednesday and Thursday, June 14-15 for the Miss Illinois contestants, and Evening Gown/Onstage questions the same two nights for the Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Contestants.
However, area residents can vote now at the Miss Illinois website, www.missillinois.org, for the princess photogenic competition, which features Miss Metropolis Mentoring Princess Baylee Wilkins, seven-year-old daughter of J.R. and Kim Wilkins, who will make an appearance during the pageant festivities.
Voting will end at midnight on Wednesday, June 14. Only one vote per IP address is allowed. One hundred percent of the audience votes will determine the final winners of the photogenic award.
Also, again this year, individuals can vote for Illinois’ Peoples Choice in the Miss and Teen categories. It is $1 per one vote and a person can vote as many times as they like for even more money. The girls with the most votes will become one of the semi-finalists at either Friday night’s Teen Pageant or Saturday for the Miss Pageant.
Winners will be announced at the beginning of the Miss Illinois’ Outstanding Teen Pageant and Miss Illinois Pageant.
“We will again enjoy the southern hospitality of the Marion Cultural and Civic Center and the City of Marion, as well as, the surrounding towns like Metropolis. We are very glad to be here for our seventh year,” said Ashley Hatfield, new board chairman.
Tickets are available by phone through the Marion Cultural and Civic Center box office by calling 618-997-4030 or go to www.marionccc.org. Special package pricing is available.
Cunningham won the Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen Pageant in October 2016 and has since been making appearances and promoting her platform, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes).
As part of her platform efforts, Cunningham has been selling Patriot stickers as a fundraiser for the Metropolis FCA for $8 each. Stickers are still available by contacting her by Facebook or Instagram to place sticker orders.
Cunningham has helped with Pancake Day at IHOP, raised money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals over Memorial Day, co-hosted a table at the local Rebuilding Together dinner, helped at the Chow Down for Hounds dinner and silent auction, helped with the auction at the Rotary/Kiwanis Spaghetti Supper in March and has many plans to do more fundraising to finish out her year as Miss Metropolis Outstanding Teen after Miss Illinois; should she not be crowned next week.
The Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen Scholarship Pageant is part of the Miss America Organization.
Madison, 16, is the daughter of Jeff and Kim Cunningham.
Hutcheson won the title of Miss Metropolis in October 2016. Her year of service platform is Don’t Fence Me In, an original and personal platform she designed for herself.
She has spoken at local groups and organizations as well as church youth groups and afterschool programs about not letting anyone tell you “you can’t be or do what you want. Don’t let people set limits on you because of where you come from- anyone can do great things,” says Hutcheson. She has designed a T-shirt that she uses to help get her point across after her talks. The front says — “Don’t let anyone define your limits because of where you come from.” The back has “#dontfencemein” with several blank lines and Hutcheson’s signature under them.
She encourages the students to write down a dream or goal they want to accomplish and then she tells them she believes in them and her signature is a reminder that she does. She also sells the shirts for $5 a piece and is donating all proceeds to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Hutcheson also has helped at IHOP Pancake Day, raised money for Children’s Miracle Network over Memorial Day weekend, co-hosted a table at the Rebuilding Together Dinner, helped at the Rotary/Kiwanis Spaghetti Supper, worked at Martha’s Vineyard to help prepare the Thanksgiving meal they serve to the public, hosted a Chili for the Children chili supper in her home to raise money for CMNH and earned her teaching certificate from Murray State University through it all.
Hutcheson, 21, is the daughter of Antoine and Madre Hutcheson.
Area residents will see both of the girls at the local Superman Celebration coming up June 8- 11 helping with kids games and selling T-shirts under the big tent.
The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and providers of scholarship assistance to young women.
Last year, the Miss America Organization, along with its state and local organizations, like Miss Metropolis, made available more than $40 million in cash and scholarship assistance.
Plans are underway for the 2018 Miss Metropolis Scholarship Pageant scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29. It is open to young women, ages 17-24, who live, work or attend school in Massac County.
The Outstanding Teen Scholarship Pageant, for girls ages 13-17 will also be held October 29th.
In conjunction with the local pageant is the Princess Mentoring Program. Open to girls, ages 5-12, every girl who participates get crowned and is mentored throughout the year by the local titleholders who will be competing for the title of Miss Illinois and Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen.
For more information, contact Sandy Farmer, local pageant coordinator, at 618-645-0363 or firstname.lastname@example.org after Aug. 1.