Saturday, October 20, 2007

Miss Porterville - Emmylou Dowling

story by Esther Avila/photo by Chieko Hara
The Porterville Recorder - Monday, Oct. 22, 2007

Dowling crowned queen
Homecoming: Queen carries double honor.
Emmylou Dowling earned double honors Saturday night when she was named Miss Congeniality by her peers and minutes later crowned Miss Porterville and the 2007-08 Veterans Homecoming Queen in front of a packed crowd at the Frank “Buck” Shaffer Theater inside the Porterville Memorial Auditorium.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” Dowling said as she wiped away tears of joy. “It has been a wonderful evening. All of the contestants deserve this crown. I am honored to become the homecoming queen.”

Also wiping away tears were Dowling’s parents, Robert and Patricia Dowling. Approximately 50 family members attended, including her three siblings, Bobby, Mario and Tiffany, Patricia Dowling said.

“She’s so excited. She deserves and earned this,” Robert Dowling said. “She’s always been involved in many clubs and many [extracurricular] high school activities — and has kept her No. 1 ranking for four hears of high school a GPA of 4.2. Ever since she was little, she’s been really outgoing and a little aggressive. If she wants something, she goes out and gets it.”

The Granite Hills High School straight A honor student, one of 13 young women vying for the title, sang a patriotic medley of “God Bless America,” “This is my Country” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” for her talent portion of the competition.

The girls were judged by a panel of five out-of-town judges on four areas, each worth 25 points: a 200-word essay, interviews with the judges, poise and the way they presented themselves, and talent.

In addition, the contestants were asked three questions on stage by returning master of ceremonies Jamie McGlasson.

When asked if she could spend an afternoon with one person from any time in history, who it would be, Dowling’s answer brought a hearty applause from the audience.

“My savior, Jesus Christ,” Dowling said. “I believe he was a real man who walked the earth — definitely who I would like to spend the afternoon with.”

Joining Dowling in her royal court are Sammie Jo Stone, senior princess; Crystal Ervin, first attendant; Sabrina Ziegler, second attendant; and Sarah Chandler, third attendant.

“The girls were all wonderful. They are the cream of the crop,” Monique Page, coordinator of the event, said. “They have been very supportive of each other. Any of them could have won the title.”
Former queen Katie Lopez spoke on her experience as Miss Porterville and offered words of advice to any young girl who may have her sight on the crown -- encouraging them to believe and to enter the pageant if they have the slightest spark of interest.

“This has been the most wonderful year,” Lopez said before the program started. “For me it was life-changing and something I wanted so much. It has given me such a positive outlook on life. It was unexpected and it happened. That is how it is: When you least expect it, it shines on you. It’s a little sad that it is ending but I also know that it is something that will never go away, this feeling that I accomplished something I wanted so much, and that I was Miss Porterville and the Veterans Homecoming Queen. That will always stay with me.”

The evening began with a welcome by Don Dowling, general chairman of the Veterans Homecoming Committee, posting of the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance by Ruben Bonilla, commander of American Legion Post 20 and Tom Jacobs, commander of VFW Post 2001. The National Anthem was performed by five brass members from the Monache High School band.

In addition, a spirit dance performed by all of the contestants was choreographed by Pam Sheldon of Deenie’s Dance Studio, as well as two presentations by Deenie’s dance performers.

A touching patriotic slide show — including photographs of Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and various other war memorial sculptures, and recent photos of the U.S. military in the Middle East — had several people in the audience wiping tears as solemn patriotic music filled the auditorium.

The 62nd annual Veterans Homecoming Queen, Miss Porterville Pageant was sponsored by American Legion Post 20; and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2001. Emmylou Dowling and her court will preside over the Veterans Day activities on Nov. 11 — the Veterans Memorial Service, Veterans Day Parade and the Veterans Day Band-A-Rama.

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