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Thomas competing for Junior Miss this week

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Fifty-three candidates vying for the title of Alabama's Junior Miss arrived in Montgomery last week.
A week full of fun, excitement and expectation is waiting for all the young ladies before the preliminaries on Friday and Saturday, with the main event Saturday night, Feb. 18.
The girls arrived at the Alcazar Temple to begin the nine days of preparation for the state finals.
They will be competing for more than $50,000 in cash tuition scholarships and more than $2.2 million in college granted scholarships.
Brooke Thomas, daughter of Eddie and Betty Ann Thomas of Brewton, who is representing Escambia County, was welcomed to the State Program by Jaye Herrod, Alabama's Junior Miss for 2005.
The America's Junior Miss scholarship program was founded in 1957 and is the oldest and largest scholarship program for high school senior girls. It has helped thousands of girls pay for their educations and pursue their ambitions. It makes available more than $80 million dollars in college scholarships annually.
The categories in which each contestant is evaluated are scholastics (20 percent), interview (25 percent), talent (25 percent), fitness (15 percent) and self-expression (15 percent). The program's goal is to honor young women who excel in all these areas and to encourage them to continue on the path of excellence by completing their college educations and assuming roles of leadership in their communities and professions, thereby setting an example for other young women to follow.