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Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant Empowers and Highlights Youth of Color

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant Empowers and Highlights Youth of Color

This weekend’s Second Annual Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant offers educational funding and skill development for future leaders.

Director Johnnie Wheeler said she was excited that the pageant was adding two more classes this year to give opportunities and experience to more young women.

Wheeler said the scholarship pageant focuses more on character than appearance.

“And to encourage our youth to take the next step that we see in leadership,” Wheeler said. “And leadership not only for people of color but all people. We want to develop the leadership so we can move our girls from where they are to where we know they should be.”

Wheeler said public speaking is not just a fear among youth but among the entire population. She said the pageant provides an opportunity to present oneself to hundreds of people, make an introduction and answer questions of general interest.

Wheeler said the pageant provides a platform for young women to enhance their self-expression and personal development.

“Sometimes it’s hard for people, self expression and stage presence,” Wheeler said. “And that’s what they will be graded on.”

Wheeler said last year the pageant distributed over $8,000 in scholarship money and this year they hope to do more. She said the Putnam community and local businesses fund the scholarship awards.

“I had one young lady who told me just a few days ago that she was so happy that she had placed,” Wheeler said. “Because she was able to use her scholarship money to buy clothes and other school supplies that she wouldn’t have otherwise been able to to.”

The Juneteenth Scholarship Pageant takes place Saturday at the Cookeville Community Center 240 Carlen Avenue from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.



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