Clackamas Co. 17-year-old to compete in Miss Oregon pageant
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Miss Oregon Scholarship Program and Clackamas County resident Déja Fitzwater will take to the stage in Seaside, participating in the Miss Oregon's Outstanding Teen Competition on June 16-18.
The state winner will go on to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships in the national Miss America's Outstanding Teen competition to be held in August in Dallas, Texas.
Fitzwater, 17, was named Miss Evergreen's Outstanding Teen earlier this year, but she is no stranger to the event held annually at the Seaside Convention Center.
She was a princess in the Outstanding Kids program in 2011. In 2014, she went to the Miss Oregon Princess Camp at Seaside, where her name was drawn from the bowl and she became the 2014 Miss Oregon Princess, resulting in a year of service and appearances.
"I began my Outstanding Teen journey in 2019 as Miss Meadowlark's Outstanding Teen. In 2020, there was not a competition, and then in 2021, I was the Miss Portland-Metro Outstanding Teen," Fitzwater said.
Candidates who win state titles also win scholarship money.
Fitzwater said she loves the sisterhood and positive community that the competition provides, and "the scholarships are just a fantastic bonus to the experience."
During the preliminary event in Seaside, all candidates will be interviewed by a panel of judges, who can ask them questions about local, state and national current events. Each candidate brings a social issue to the competition that she feels strongly about, and she may also be asked questions about that issue.
Fitzwater said her area of interest is "Watch. Speak. Listen. Encouraging Healthy Communication Between Teens," intended to encourage healthy communication between teens.
"I created it because I did not like the disconnect that the pandemic created among my own peers, as well as teens in general," she said.
During the pageant, Oregon's Outstanding Teen candidates and Miss Oregon candidates will compete in onstage talent performance, lifestyle wellness/active wear, evening gown and answering an on-stage question.
Fitzwater said she will sing a French art song called "Les Filles de Cadix" for the talent competition and is working hard to prepare for the fitness portion of the pageant.
"In regard to current events, I am checking news sources but am also making conversation with other people to hear their opinions and learn about what they have seen as well," she said.
Fitzwater added that she is most looking forward to meeting her fellow titleholders and being part of the celebration of 75 years of Miss Oregon in Seaside.
For more information about the Miss Oregon's Outstanding Teen and the Miss Oregon Scholarship Program, visit missoregon.org.
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