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Local teen nabs community service award at American pageant - Jul. 18, 2014


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Sarah Henry, left, accepts a community service award from Amber Smith at the Miss Jr. High School America Pageant on July 6 in Orlando, Florida.

Chris Roberts
St. Stephen
For participating in 79 community events since last August, Sarah Henry, 14, of St. Stephen earned the Amber Smith Community Service award at the 2014 Miss Junior High School America Pageant.
The pageant, held July 2-6 at Disneyland in Florida, was in fact open to contestants throughout North America, and Sarah qualified as Miss Junior High School Canada, a pageant she won last fall.
Her mom, Brenda Henry, raved about her daughter’s ambitious community spirit; her 79 events attended over the year were well beyond the required two per month needed to qualify for the pageant.
“She said way back in August ‘I might not win this but community service is something I could do,’” Brenda explained during a phone interview on Tuesday afternoon.
So, because Sarah was busy with school, gymnastics and air rifle (she’s attempting to make provincial teams in both sports in the near future), her mother set to searching out community events that her daughter could participate in and help out with.
Sarah said she was fond of all the community work she had done over the year.
“Just whenever my mom finds something for me to do, I just go and do it,” she said.
Though, her mom pointed out, there is the odd exception or two.
“Most of the time she said yes, sometimes she wanted to go to a school dance or something,” Brenda said, with a laugh.
The pageant’s platform is anti-bullying, and the girls are encouraged to spread that message through schools and other community events.
At the Charlotte County Fall Fair, Sarah set up a table where she painted fingernails blue in support of the anti-bullying message.
“I liked doing the community services,” said Sarah of the past year’s work. “And I liked to be in parades.”
She’ll participate in the International Festival parade Aug. 9, but a week later, will pass on her Miss Canada Junior High crown. But that doesn’t mean she’s through with pageants just yet.
Her mother said that, following their time in Disneyland, Sarah let her know that she’s already excited about participating in high school pageants.
“I said we’ll have to see,” said Brenda, with a laugh.
It may be hard to fit all of her plans for the next few years into her schedule, however.
Sarah is an accomplished gymnast who is aiming at a spot on the 2015 New Brunswick team that will compete in the Atlantics. She’s also hoping to make the province’s team for the 2015 Canada Games as an air rifle competitor. In fact, in August, Sarah will be in Ontario competing in the Canadian National Airgun Championships.
She is also the current North Atlantic Woman’s Novice Air Gun champion and the Maine NRA Air Rifle Junior Sectional champion.
Needless to say, those honours are quite often met with surprise from her fellow pageant contestants.
“Yeah, when they find out that I do air rifle, they’re just like ‘Really?! Like shooting?”
She only expects to make the 2015 Canada Games team as an alternate, but already has her eye on 2019, where she’ll have experience and countless hours of training behind her. She said she already practises three nights a week.
Still, she plans to attend another pageant in the region in October, and, as long as they are respectful pageants, her mother has no issues.
“It depends on the pageant, I’m not going to put her in one with bathing suits, and we’re certainly not into the glitz, toddlers and tiaras,” she explained, noting that there was no swimsuit or talent portion of the Miss Junior High School America pageant.
“It’s the kids working; they have to work hard, and it shows they have brains too.”

chrisroberts@stcroixcourier.ca