Eighteen young women will compete on Jan. 21 for scholarship money and a year in the limelight to promote their causes. (All photos submitted by the Miss Poulsbo Miss Kitsap Miss Silverdale Scholarship Organization)

A title, a scholarship, and a chance to make a change

18 vie for Miss Kitsap, Miss Poulsbo, Miss Silverdale titles

BREMERTON — Eighteen young women will compete on Jan. 21 for scholarship money and a year in the limelight to promote their causes, among them the prevention of sports injuries, acceptance of cultural differences, development of female leaders, and violence prevention.

The Miss Poulsbo Miss Kitsap Miss Silverdale Scholarship Pageant begins at 5 p.m. at Bremerton High School. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Michele Wasson at 360-689-3553 or at misspoulsbo@yahoo.com. Contestants are also selling tickets; the one that sells the most will receive a $200 scholarship. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 and younger and seniors 65 and older.

More than $21,200 in scholarships will be awarded, bringing to $489,200 the amount of scholarships awarded since 2000.

“We are pleased to continue our longtime partnership with Olympic College, who will be offering $3,000 in scholarships to our contestants,” Scholarship Organization director Michele Wasson reported. “Our total to date with them is $57,425 since 2005.”

Wasson said winning comes with more than a title and tiara. “Our current titleholders will have made 233 appearances by pageant night and have given over 500 hours of community service,” she said. “We would like to thank Miss Poulsbo 2016 Kaitlyn Morrell, Miss Kitsap 2016 Amy Liu and Miss Silverdale 2016 Jasmine Medina for their dedication to our program and their service to the community.”

Contestants are judged mostly on their self-confidence and how they’re “comfortable in their own skin,” Wasson said.

That comes out in private and onstage interviews, modeling of evening and active wear, and talent performance (the current Miss Poulsbo, Kaitlyn Morrell, performed Katy Perry’s “Firework” in American Sign Language at the 2016 pageant).

Self-confidence and healthy self-image are the priorities.

“It’s about having confidence and being able to communicate and promote our program and what we do,” Wasson said. The program is about teaching women “to not accept less” because of their gender, and to know they have as much power and voice as men.

“We want to empower them to be leaders,” Wasson said. “We want to give them the life skills they need.”

The scholarship program hosts a series of presentations for participants. Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson talks about leadership “and how to make it in a man’s world,” Wasson said. A financial adviser talks about how money management. A representative from Olympic College talks about how to apply for scholarships. A health and wellness professional talks about healthy living. Scholarship program participants assist in service projects, such as Habitat for Humanity.

The 2017 scholarship pageant theme is “Girl Power!,” as reflected in the contestants’ platforms.


  • HAYLEE BYRD: 16, junior at Bremerton High School. Platform: Helping Youths Overcome Adversity.
  • DIVINITY DODGE: 16, junior at Bremerton High School. Platform: Domestic Violence.
  • MORIAH GRAZIANI: 18, senior at South Kitsap High School/Running Start student at Olympic College. Platform: Animal Education.
  • SARAH CASIAS: 17, senior at Bremerton High School. Platform: Sports Injury Prevention.
  • MCKENNA DAILEY: 16, junior at South Kitsap High School. Platform: Female Leadership Development.
  • KARLA GARCIA: 16, junior at South Kitsap High School/Running Start student at Olympic College. Platform: Youth Mentoring.
  • MACKENZIE ZURBRUGG: 16, junior at Bremerton High School. Platform: Teen Homelessness.
  • MAILECA GONTINAS: 16, junior at Bremerton High School. Platform: Community Service.


  • ERICKA BLACK: 17, senior at Central Kitsap High School/Running Start student at Olympic College. Platform: Helping Kids in Need.
  • NATALIA TUCKER: 17, junior at Kingston High School. Platform: Peer Mentoring — Enriching Our Community.
  • ATHENA ALVAREZ: 17, senior at North Kitsap High School. Platform: Miss Independent.
  • CAROLINE ATKINS: 17, senior at North Kitsap High School/Running Start student at Olympic College. Platform: Looking Beyond the Mirror — Empowering Young Women.


  • ELIZA PATENIO: 17, junior at Central Kitsap High School. Platform: Social Equality — Overcoming Oppression and Prejudice.
  • EMILY RIDER: 17, junior at Klahowya Secondary School. Platform: Violent Intruder Response Training.
  • ROCHELLE DIMALANTA: 18, senior at Central Kitsap High School. Platform: Mentoring the Youth.
  • COLBY CONDE: 19, sophomore at Olympic College. Platform: Promoting Self Love in Others.
  • DEJAHNA HARRISON: 19, student at University of Maryland. Platform: Cultural Diversity — Accepting Our Differences.
  • ELLA HAZZARD: 18, freshman at Olympic College. Platform: Active Kids-Ap — Mentoring Kids.



















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