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August 17, 2004 > Local Talent Shines in Pageant

Local Talent Shines in Pageant

by Mekala Raman

On July 9th and 10th, at the San Jose Doubletree Hotel, twelve year old Jackelyn Ho received two awards in the Miss American Northern California Preteen Pageant. She won first place in both Miss Preteen Speech and Miss Preteen Talent events. Competing with sixty-four other teens, Ho placed fifteenth in the competition.

Jackelyn had witnessed her sister win the titles of Miss Northern California Junior Teen Speech and Miss Northern California Junior Teen Academic Achievement. "My sister competed in this pageant," says Ho, "and I thought it seemed like a wonderful opportunity for me."

Acceptance to compete in the competition was based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities, and community service. To prepare for the event Ho spent two months writing and practicing her speech "Pride of the Present, Hope for the Future" and choreographing her own impersonation of Michael Jackson to a "Beat It-Bad" mix.

"On the morning of July 9th, I woke up feeling excited and restless," remembers Jackelyn.
She first presented her speech to a panel of judges and then went on to perform an impersonation of Michael Jackson in the talent competition. That evening, she placed in the top three for the Speech and Talent categories; she had made the cut and would go on to the actual pageant and compete for the title of Miss Preteen Speech and Talent.

The next day, the Preteens had a rehearsal in a ballroom where they practiced their opening numbers and introductions wearing evening gowns and introduced themselves to the judges attired in business-like outfits. That night, each performed in the spacious ballroom and the following morning introduced themselves to the judges who critiqued their poise and overall presentation.

The following evening, Jackelyn made her way to the pageant and the crowning of the Miss Northern California Preteen of 2004. She performed both her speech and talent sections once again and awaited the results. She was awarded the titles of Preteen Speech Winner, Preteen Talent Winner, and Spirit Award. She also placed in the top fifteen and therefore was in the running to be Miss Northern California Preteen. Unfortunately, she did not make it to the next level of competition. "I was sad, but I knew I had given it my all, and if I wasn't chosen, then it's fine. I felt good that night even though I wasn't the top winner."

Aside from being talented and poised, the girls in the competition needed to be academically strong to participate, take part in extracurricular activities and do community service. Ho is part of the GATE program (Gifted and Talented Education) and maintains good grades. She has also been elected as president of her Associated Student Body (ASB). Apart from being a leader and high achiever in school life, she also is a dancer with the non-profit Vietnamese group "Wings of the Hundred Viet", plays saxophone in the symphonic band at her school, plays tennis and piano, and acts in her school plays.

Ho believes the support of her family plays a large role in success. "My sister is my role model. I look up to her not only because she got outstanding grades, leadership, creativity, and an optimistic attitude, but also because she and I believe in the same principles of life."

There is no competition between the siblings and Jackelyn feels her sister's support has helped her to win the titles. She took home trophies for each category she competed in and knows that just being in the top fifteen is a great achievement. Her best memories of the pageant are making new friends and the feeling of satisfaction at being a winner. As she says, "It was an absolutely wonderful night for me!"

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