- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Shana Powell remembers watching the Miss America pageant on TV as a young girl.

The newly crowned Miss Maryland is now heading to the pageant she watched in awe as a child.

“It made me laugh thinking about it,” Miss Powell, 21, who competed as Miss Allegany County, said after winning the title Saturday night in Hagerstown. “Because having watched it since I was little, to me those were superwomen back then, and now I’m about to be one of them up on the Miss America stage. It’s unbelievable.”

On the same night, Hannah Kiefer received her crown as Miss Virginia in Roanoke.

Miss Kiefer, a Hollins University student from High Point, N.C., was second runner-up in the 2006 Miss North Carolina pageant.

Miss Powell, a Bowie resident who attends Morgan State University, won a $9,000 cash scholarship along with the Maryland crown. The Miss Allegany County pageant is open to women from across the state.

She is studying vocal performance and pursuing a career in operatic performance. Her platform advocated music education and the arts.

She sang “Glitter and Be Gay” from “Candide,” said afterward said she was looking forward to the “fun stuff” in preparing for the Miss America pageant, including shopping for her wardrobe and selecting the piece she will perform.

Miss Powell said she wants a piece that will allow her to “really engage the entire audience, the entire panel, so everybody can have a good time.”

“I’m looking forward to finding just the right piece for that,” she said.

Miss Kiefer is a double major in communications and psychology at Hollins. She will tour Virginia for the next year making paid appearances and promoting her platform: creating healthy choices for teens.

A director of Abstinence Education of Virginia on the Hollins campus, Miss Kiefer said she hopes to establish a nationwide organization to teach teens character that leads to abstinence. She also is a member of the Hollins Batten Leadership Institute.

Miss Kiefer, who competed as Miss Mountain Empire, will represent Virginia in the Miss America pageant.

Miss Arlington Leigh-Taylor Smith was third runner-up.

The date and location of the Miss America Pageant have not been announced.

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