‘Outstanding Teen’ ready to make impact

Emily Houston, who is a student at Sedgwick Junior High, is focusing her platform on finding a cure for cancer

Port Orchard's Emily Houston is the Miss West Sound Outstanding Teen.

Port Orchard's Emily Houston is the Miss West Sound Outstanding Teen.

Her goal is simple.

Sedgwick Junior High student Emily Houston said the impetus for her applying for the Miss West Sound Outstanding Teen competition was to enhance her ability to make a difference in the community.

Houston, who turned 14 on Tuesday, beat out seven contestants for the honor last month. After competing against girls mostly from Bremerton and Central Kitsap, Houston said she is excited to represent the South Kitsap area and “bring awareness to the pageant to this side of the county.”

The teen competition is open to girls 13 to 17 years old. Contestants are judged in five categories: private interview, physical fitness in swimsuit/active wear, talent, evening wear and on-stage interview. Houston particularly enjoyed the talent portion of the competition. She performed Jason Mraz’s popular “I Won’t Give Up.”

“A lot of people heard it before and I thought it showed my singing ability,” Houston said.

Miss West Sound executive director Jill Nicks said Houston’s “poise” showed during the talent and interview portions of the competition.

“Her talent was splendid across the board,” she said.

Houston, who became aware of the competition when her older sister, Meghan, was involved with it, has been involved with Girls Scouts and volunteered at Family Kitchen at First Lutheran Community Church.

“It’s really nice to have someone we know has a heart for this position and the service work we are promoting in the community,” Nicks said. “She’s a delight.”

Houston made an appearance at the Dec. 1 Festival of Chimes and Lights and Nicks said she will promote Miss West Sound — and her interests — at other functions. She will be among a group of carolers this weekend at Emeritus at Montclair Park, which is a senior citizen living facility in Poulsbo.

“We look for her to get out and do some public speaking, especially in schools,” Nicks said. “We want to see her promote her platform.”

For Houston, that entails finding a cure for cancer. Two years ago, she joined then-South Kitsap High School student Ethan Kalkwarf’s Relay for Life team. Houston said she became involved with that cause because she like the idea of making an impact locally.

“It was something I really could get involved with,” she said. “It really helps to do something for every part of your community.”

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