Elise Newcomer said she was "floored" at being crowned Miss Farmington at the close of Wednesday night's pageant at the .
"I thought it was my best performance," the 15-year-old student said, "but I did feel like I rushed a lot."
Newcomer and six other teens – Paige Campbell, Erin Wojtkiewicz, Kristina Franchi, Olivia Salinas, 1st runner up Hannah Cheriyan, and 2nd runner up Rachel Rosinski – competed in four areas. Each donned fitness gear to represent her favorite sport, modeled clothing that displayed her personal style, answered questions from a panel of judges and wrote an essay of the topic of bullying.
While Newcomer admits to being a little disappointed about rushing her performance, she is already looking forward to using her public platform for a worthy cause: Joy Southfield, a non-profit organization that helps needy families in a western Detroit neighborhood with food, health care, housing, education and more.
"I've been on mission trips there," Newcomer said. "Our church is very active with them."
Several former pageant winners attended the event, including Sarah Duhr, Miss Farmington 2008. Now attending Hope College, she said she looks back on her year as Miss Farmington almost every day.
"It is a whirlwind being Miss Farmington," she said. "If you're involved in your community, this is a fantastic pageant."
The outgoing Miss Farmington, Jenny Fernandez, in her farewell speech noted that when people asked whether she'd won a beauty pageant, she replied, "I won a personality pageant." Fernandez reflected on her year, which included volunteering at events, including the gala in February.
The pageant this year honored long-time community volunteer Wally Christensen with the Walter Sundquist Humanitarian Award, presented by Mark Ziegler of . Ziegler said Christensen, a former commander and chaplain of and retired Memorial Day parade chair, and his wife, Lorraine, "have given of themselves for decades to the betterment of this community."
For the first time this year, scholarships are being awarded by the family of Delores Riley, a longtime Farmington Hills resident who died last spring. As Miss Farmington, Newcomer recieves $2,000, first runner-up Cheriyan receives $1,000 and 2nd runner-up Rosinski receives $500.
Other pageant awards and honorees were:
Dick Tupper Goodfellow Spirit Award - Erin Wojtkiewicz
People's Choice award - Elise Newcomer
American Legion Community Service award - Hannah Cheriyan
Mayor's Essay Award - Rachel Rosinski
Miss Farmington and her court will be seen throughout downtown Farmington during this weekend's Founders Festival, which kicks off with pre-glow events tonight and continues through Sunday.