- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A West Valley High School junior is in Washington, D.C., this week competing in the Miss Teen United States pageant.

Sydneylynn Graessle, 16, represents the state of Alaska in her role as Miss Teen Alaska United States 2014.

“It’s very exciting,” said her mother Lisa Gentry. “She’s a pretty organized young lady, so she makes lists every day of what she needs to accomplish and what things she still needs to get, and who she needs to talk to.”

“She gets it all done,” Gentry said.

This is something the high schooler has always wanted to do ever since her sister earned a Miss Junior Teen pageant title in Arizona.

When she was in sixth grade, she told her mother, “I want to be a model.”

When the opportunity arose here in Alaska to participate in the Miss Teen Alaska USA competition, she applied.

They didn’t hold a pageant in Alaska this year, but she was chosen based on her application.

Graessle is very connected to her community. She volunteers with the Boys & Girls Club of Fairbanks and Love Inc. and also works as a camp counselor at Camp Li-Wa, according to the Miss Teen United States Pageant. She is also a member of the West Valley cheer team.

I caught up with her at a Fairbanks photo shoot, preparing for the Miss Photogenic portion of the competition, which happens online in the next few days.

They chose the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge as their photo location, because of all the Alaska decor.

Jason and Lindsay DeHeus, of JRun Productions, had her posing with statues of bears and other Alaska decorations and furniture.

Graessle’s future plan is to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks and study business administration.

If she were to win a modeling contract along the way, that would be OK, too.

When you ask her what she hopes to get out of this whole experience, her reply is instantaneous: “College scholarships.”

You can follow her progress on her Facebook page and even vote for her in the Miss Photogenic part of the competition within the next few days.

The national pageant is July 6 at the Sphinx Club.

According to the Miss Teen United States Pageant, judges are top professionals in the business, fashion and performance industries.

And yes, college scholarships are included in the pageant rewards.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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