By Per Peterson
When describing last year’s Miss Tracy Scholarship Program, director Mallory Fultz uses the word “unique.” While every year brings its own special touch to the stage, there’s no doubt 2020 was anything but normal.
“We did our best to make it as normal as possible while following all of the restrictions that were in place,” Fultz said.
“We were luckily able to adapt and give the 2021 group, what we felt like, was the best possible experience given the circumstances. Last year’s group also took all of the restrictions and changes made on the fly, in stride. They made a difficult year for everyone doable because they were just happy to be able to do the program.”
Indeed, the show did go on for last year’s contingent, but it was anything but normal. There was no large crowd in the gym. There was no walk-through at the midway. There was no parade. But despite that, the spirit of the program lived on.
“The lack of crowd was definitely a bummer and took away a little bit of excitement and joy show day brings, but I feel we did a good job prepping them and making the most of getting to have a show/program day at all,” Fultz said. “Being able to provide a live stream last year for those unable to attend was big and I am so glad we worked with two of the best in Shawn Zwach and Cody Welu to have allowed us to do that. We are also very thankful to have a school district that is very supportive of the program itself and were more than transparent with our restrictions while still working with us to make sure we were able to get these girls on the stage, and their parents there live to see them.”
To everyone’s delight, normalcy has returned this year, as 10 Tracy Area High School seniors will vie for the title of Miss Tracy 2022. This year’s them is “Rise.”
“It has been so nice to return to normal this year,” said Fultz. “I feel like the 2021 year was more stressful dealing with COVID and restrictions that we all felt rejuvenated to get a fresh start when we started with this 2022 group.”
This year’s program will be at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 5, at the TAHS gymnasium. Contestants are Camille Dolan (speech), Delaynie Meyer (dance), Annaka Hook (vocal), Kaylee Campbell (speech), Julia Schmidt (piano), Tara Roberts (dance), Lauren Zick (speech), Grace Hanson (vocal), Margaret Dolan (dance) and Marissa Johnson (speech).
“This group of girls brings all the energy and all the laughs,” Fultz said. “Each of them truly light up that stage when they are up there as both individuals and a group. There isn’t a practice where there aren’t giggles because someone is joking around or enthusiasm for anything and everything we have them doing. They make practices so enjoyable that it’s hard to believe we only have a few more of them with them. They are also a super supportive group of girls, which is fun to see and makes practices even more enjoyable.”
The 2022 Miss Tracy will receive a $1,500 scholarship; first runner-up gets a $900 scholarship; and a $700 scholarship will go to the second runner-up.
The program includes five categories: Scholastic Achievement and Community Involvement, Creative Arts Presentation, Fitness Routine, Presence and Composure, and Panel Evaluation — each consist of a $300 scholarship.
Other awards/scholarships presented are the Lori Bangasser Memorial, $300; Spirit Award, $300; $250 alumni scholarship to each recipient thanks to the Miss Tracy Alumni, and Miss Photogenic, who receives an engraved frame.
Fultz said she is excited to have Lexi Erickson and Jason Kainz take the reins as emcees for the evening.
2021 Miss Tracy Jenna Spanovich, first runner-up Lauren Verlinde, and second runner-up Rachel Przybilla will entertain the audience with an original skit.
Program directors besides Fultz include Kim Roggatz, Kelsey Stuefen, Mary Squires, Vickie Towne, Alicia Swenhaugen, Erickson and Jenna Hook. Fultz also gave a special thanks to Jesse James for all his help with this year’s program.
“These girls are so ready to show everyone what they have been working on this summer,” Fultz said. “You are all in for an amazing show. And thank you to all the sponsors and all donations received again this year to keep this scholarship program going. We are fortunate to keep this program going for the Tracy area.”