BY CAROL HICKS email@example.com
---- — HOOPESTON — Miss California Jordan Blais Krinke won the title of Miss National Sweetheart at the National Sweetheart Pageant on Sunday evening.
Krinke, from Placentia, Calif., attended Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She started as a dance major and planned to become a professional dancer, choreographer, director and producer. However, her undergraduate research experience changed that goal. Her passion for dance science, kinesiology and anatomy changed to promoting a better quality of teaching and safety in the recreational and competitive artistic sport of dancing.
Her most memorable moment in Hoopeston this past week was “riding a John Deere tractor.” She added she would like to have one of those to drive on the freeways of California.
Miss Indiana, Hannah Clingan of Covington, plans to take a year or two off from pageants, but might come back as a contestant in the Miss Indiana USA Pageant. Although it is not a part of the Miss America Pageant, “I love to represent my state,” she said.
“It (National Sweetheart Pageant) has been a great experience, but bittersweet, since I will age out this year (from the Miss America program).”
The friendships and support from the other girls and the Hoopeston community at large were an important part of Clingan’s experience.
Miss Massachusetts Meagan Elise Fuller was the first runner-up in the pageant; Miss South Carolina Lauren Haley Cabaniss was second runner-up; Miss Louisiana Julianne Tippen was third; and Miss Virginia Victoria Maiden was fourth.
Awards handed out during the night were to Miss Nebraska as Miss Congeniality; The Producers’ Award in memory of Bob Horan went to Miss Missouri, Mary Bauer; The Pat Musk Non-Finalist Talent Award went to Miss Utah Alyson Johnson; the Judges Award in memory of John Bitner was given to Miss Idaho Kaitlyn Anderson.
The People’s Choice Award went to Miss Maine, Marisa Butler, a 50/50 award based on donations to a specific program. This year half the donations — $480 — went to Blessings In a Backpack to help feed children. Butler also received $480.
New this year, the inaugural Ronnie Reed Platform and Service Award in memory of Ronnie Reed, who passed away in January, was given to Miss New Jersey, Brenna Joanne Weick.
Miss Hoopeston Jacy Samet, hostess to the Sweethearts this week and the ambassador representing Hoopeston throughout the year at events, summed up the pageant and year: “The 70th Annual National Sweetheart Pageant has been the most amazing experience of my life. These are some of the most amazing girls I’ve ever met. (Being Miss Hoopeston) has truly changed my life and helped me grow as a person.”