March 21, 2024

By: Katherine Trowbridge

Miss Connell 2024 Erika Guzman (center) gives a wave to the community. Pictured with Miss Connell 2024 Representatives (l-r) Miranda Garza and Vianney Martinez.

The 2024 Miss Connell Scholarship Program brought the “Colors of India” to the stage as it showcased five talented young ladies. The event brought out community support on both Friday (dress rehearsal) and Saturday evening, March 15 and 16.

The five contestants were joined on stage by the 2024 Escorts, and assisted backstage by their little sisters. Also joining them for the opening number and final moments were the 2023 Finalists and award winners, amid a backdrop of the Taj Mahal.

The program featured the fitness, talent, poise, and interview categories, as judges took note.

The program featured a lot of talent including former Miss Connell Contestants. Allie Danz (2017) with her Weapons Kata “Heart of Courage.” Danz has performed all over and is grateful for her experience with Junior Miss. McKenzie Clyde (2023 talent winner) clogged “Perm” and brought the move that may have been the highlight of the night. Sariah Hales (2023 Miss Connell) also performed her talent, a speed painting of Abraham Lincoln to “Remember Me”.

The five contestants also provided some outstanding talents to keep the crowd entertained. Miranda Garza loves baking, a skill that is part of her family's heritage, however, it’s a little hard to showcase on stage, or is it? Garza found a great way to feature baking in her vocal performance of “What Baking Can Do” that also honored her mom. Kimberly Gonzalez also honored her heritage, singing, “Paloma Negra.” Vianney Martinez honored her favorite painter with her speed painting in tribute to Frida Kahlo.

Jaqueline Guzman performed the monologue “Coat Hanger Project” showcasing the hardships of art class.

Erika Guzman rounded out the talent with her dance performance to “Know Your Worth.” She encouraged the audience to take in the words of the song.

“Jai Ho,” an audience game, and laughter rounded out the evening with Emcee’s Lauren Smith and Dave Specht leading it all.

The audience also included some royalty as Miss Spokane Valley and the newly crowned Miss Ritzville Finalists joined the final program. Also highlighted were former Miss Connell participants attending, as well as Little Miss Connell participants who eagerly await the day they can participate, as well as aspiring escorts.

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The Franklin County Graphic (FCG) newspaper opened in 1954 under founding editor Dave Adams to fulfill the need for community news. Today, it continues as a locally owned and operated, weekly source of community news and information across Franklin County.

It takes a lot of people to create such a magical night.