September 25, 2018
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Skirting the Competition

Pageant candidate raises money to help friend recovering from heart transplant
Brooklynn Pace is raising money for her friend, Morgan Whitehead, who is recovering from a heart transplant.

Brooklynn Pace stands out, but not only because of her height. This 5-foot-9-inch preteen radiates personality, poise, and confidence. Those qualities were enough to help make her a top five Queens Court — otherwise known as a finalist — in the National American Miss Indiana state pageant in July. Yet she also has one item that makes her stand out even more: a high-sheen, floral-patterned skirt made from Vietnam War-era Japanese silk.

“My grandfather was a dentist in the Vietnam War in 1964,” the daughter of Suzie and Brent Pace says. “When my grandmother went to go visit him in Japan, she bought the biggest piece of silk brocade she could afford and had it made into a floor-length skirt.” That’s the skirt that Brooklynn’s grandmother, Anne Fox, suggested Brooklynn wear for the formal wear portion of the pageant. After a slight hem adjustment, the stunning, sky-blue skirt was a perfect fit.

The pageant was held in Indianapolis. From the 150 pre-teen contestants ages 10 to 12, Brooklynn was named fourth runner-up overall in the three categories of introduction, interview, and formal wear. During the week of Thanksgiving, she will represent her hometown of Evansville at the National All-American Miss Pageant in Anaheim, Calif. This time, she will be judged on introduction, interview, formal wear, and a community involvement project.

Brooklynn, a sixth-grader at Perry Heights Middle School, developed her community involvement project in honor of Morgan Whitehead, an eighth-grader who received a heart transplant on Sept. 25. “The first time I met Morgan, which was my fourth-grade year, I walked in the door at school and she crushed me with a hug,” Brooklynn says. The project, “Hugs for Morgan,” celebrates the fact that Morgan is famous for her hugs. Brooklynn is selling “Hugs for Morgan” bracelets for $2 to raise money for Morgan’s medical expenses and to show support for her and her family. “She is definitely a fighter, and we are all very, very thankful that she got a heart,” Brooklynn says.

Brooklynn and her mother have learned through this experience that the National All-American Miss Pageant is not a beauty pageant. Girls of all shapes and sizes participate, there’s no swimsuit competition, and noticeable make-up is not permitted for the preteen and younger age groups. Brooklynn says that learning new life skills has been her favorite part of the pageant experience.

“The poise, confidence, and communication skills that Brooklynn has gained and improved upon through the state and national competitions will certainly give her an added advantage to successfully pursue whatever ambition she has in life,” Suzie Pace says.

To purchase a “Hugs for Morgan” bracelet, contact Suzie Pace at 812-455-1403 or at bpace@evansville.net.

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