BY RYAN SPELTS
Shelly Thorne has been a part of pageants for many years. She took over as director of the Miss Syracuse Program in 2015, with some changes in her sights. The first change was to withdraw from the Miss America Organization and eliminate the swimsuit event. She believes that beauty comes from within and that young women who have a desire to serve their community and be role models to all young women embody the most valuable traits.
Each young woman determines a platform and associated community service project that they would like to promote during their reign if they are to win the title of either Miss or Teen Syracuse. In addition, there is $6000 in Miss Scholarships offered to Weber State University and $3300 in cash scholarships to both Teen and Miss winners.
Shelly heads a committee of volunteers that pull off these amazing events. The committee includes Haley Hamblin, Ashlee Sisneros, Erin Blankinship, Brittney Rice, Amber Welch, and Kenady Thornley, as well as the current pageant queens. The final event this year was unique due to COVID-19 restrictions but was successfully completed Saturday, August 15th. And the winners are…
Teen Contestant #1: Adel Roennebeck
Adel is the daughter of Brad and Megan Roennebeck. She will be a Junior at Syracuse High. Her platform is “Suicide Prevention”. For her Service Project, she got Geneva Rock to donate 50 rocks for community members to paint inspirational messages and pictures on. Then she collected them and spread them throughout Syracuse.
Teen Contestant #2: McKayla Redmond
McKayla is the daughter of Kim and Chris Redmond. She will be attending Syracuse High as a Sophomore. Her platform is “Diversity Rocks-Unity in Diversity”. For her Service Project, she collected rocks from the community, gathered with a diverse group of friends, and painted inspirational messages on the rocks. The rocks were then strategically placed around the community.
Teen Contestant #3: Amber McAuliffe
Amber is the daughter of Jessica & Don Read. She will be a Senior at Syracuse High. Her platform is “Bringing the Community Together Through Music”. For her Service Project ,Amber recorded herself playing Disney songs and posted them on the Community Facebook page. She also invited others to share their own talents.
Teen Contestant #4: Alison King
Alison is the daughter of Steven and Amber King. She will be in 9th grade at Syracuse Arts Academy. Her platform title is “Serving the Bold and the Brave”. For her Service Project, she organized a team to sew 200 face masks, which she donated to help first responders stay safe during COVID-19.
Teen Contestant #5: Hailey Barrett
Hailey is the daughter of David & Kimberly Barrett. She will be a Junior at Syracuse High. Her platform is “Mental Health Matters”. For her Service Project, she made 30 mental healthcare kits for teenagers and donated them to the counseling office at Syracuse High School. She plans to make buttons and stickers as part of a mental health awareness campaign for the students.
Teen Contestant #6: Madyson Herbst
Madyson is the daughter of Ryan and Cody Herbst. She will be attending Clearfield High as a Junior. Her platform is “Because you’re worth it”. For her Service Project, she partnered with “Life is Why” to organize a CPR certification course.
Teen Contestant #7: Valerie Ludwig
Valerie is the daughter of Jim Ludwig and Lori Ludwig. She will be in 9th grade at Syracuse Junior High. Her platform is “Raising Awareness on Drug Abuse”. For her Service Project, she made and passed out flyers about Drug abuse.
Teen Contestant #8: Summer Phillips
Summer is the daughter of Kim and Debbie Phillips. She will be a sophomore at Syracuse High. Her platform is “Respect Responders”. For her Service Project, she had yard signs made that said, “Syracuse Respects Responders, Care 4U, There 4U”. She placed these around the community, explaining her platform to residents and business owners as to why we should respect our first responders.
Teen Contestant #9: Ashlyn Welch
Ashlyn is the daughter of Trevor and Amber Welch. She will attend Syracuse Junior High as a 9th grader. Her platform is “The Girl Tribe: Girls helping Girls”. For her Service Project, she decided to start a girl’s mentorship group that will meet monthly to help each other through all the craziness we are living in.
Teen Contestant #10: Elodie King
Elodie is the daughter of Steven and Amber King. She will be in 9th grade at Syracuse Arts Academy. Her platform is “Stand up and be the Difference”. For her Service Project, she helped her school return student’s belongings that were left at school due to the abrupt school closure.
Teen Contestant #11: Brooklyn Shearer
Brooklyn is the daughter of Brandon and Shantel Shearer. She will be attending Syracuse High as a Senior. Her platform is “Love is Love”. For her Service Project, she organized an LGBTQ+ Awareness and Conversation Event, hoping to start the conversations that lead to love and tolerance.
Miss Contestant #12: Hayley Burrell
Hayley is the daughter of Brody and Ashley Burrell. She just graduated from Syracuse High and will be a freshman at Weber State. She wants to obtain a career in Sports Psychology or Sports Management. Her platform is “Courage, Conviction, Compassion”. For her Service Project, she gathered donations and gifts and delivered them to the Syracuse Fire Department, showing her gratitude to those who helped her family when her home burned down last year.
Miss Contestant #13: Chloe Arnell
Chloe is the daughter of Adam and Jenny Arnell. After a year at Utah State, she plans to attend Weber State as a Sophomore this year. Her platform is “The Power of One Voice”. For her Service Project, she gave 6 weeks of free voice lessons to 4 individuals in Syracuse. Starting in the fall, Chloe will be a full-time cosmetology student training to be a “blonding specialist”. She will also finish her associate degree through Weber State.
Miss Contestant #14: Brynley Steele
Brynley is the daughter of Brandon & Kathryn Steele. She just graduated from Syracuse High and plans to attend Weber State University this fall, where she’ll major in English. She plans to continue her education further and become a criminal law attorney, helping to make the world a safe and fair place. Her platform is “No Kids Sleep on the Floor in Our Town!”. For her Service Project, she partnered with “Sleep In Heavenly Peace”, a non-profit organization, and collected donations and fabric to complete three new bed comforters for kids in need in our community. She has enough supplies to make 4 more as well.
Miss Contestant #15: Brooklyn Piper
Brooklyn is the daughter of Brandon and Stephanie Piper. She will be attending Weber State University in a couple of weeks to begin her journey towards completing her degree in Criminal Justice. One day, she will be a police officer in hopes of later becoming a detective. Her platform is “Know our Heros-#backtheblueinSyracuse.” For her Service Project, she had several members of the community write letters to the Syracuse Police Dept, thanking them for their service. Several people donated candy, treats, cash, and gift cards. She even made the K9 officers a treat basket, which included dog treats, tennis balls, and dog jerky.