This past Saturday, Feb. 7th, 2009, in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, West Chester University junior Rosemary Kolmus was crowned as the 11th Miss WCU.Kolmus, a business management major, beat out 16 other contestants in categories including casual wear, formal wear, an onstage questioning and a personal interview. Also included in the competition was a talent portion. Kolmus showcased her vocal talents by singing “I’ll Stand By You” by The Pretenders.

All of the proceeds from the ticket sales tonight will be donated to Kolmus’ platform foundation, LiveSTRONG- The Lance Armstrong Foundation. In her onstage question, Kolmus noted that Armstrong is a role model for many people, cancer survivors or otherwise.

“LiveSTRONG is near and dear to my heart because about two years ago I lost my mom to cancer,” Kolmus said. “I know the battles and struggles that are associated with cancer victims and their families, and I want to be there to help them through their darkness.”

Promoting her platform was the main reason Kolmus decided to participate in the Miss WCU competition.

After the judges announced the top five contestants for the evening, these five were asked another series of onstage questions. Kolmus was asked to describe herself in one word, and she chose the word passionate.

“I’m passionate about everything; life, my platform, whatever comes my way,” Kolmus said during her onstage interview.

“I cannot wait for this upcoming year so that I can share this passion with others,” she said after winning. “The best part of the year is still unknown, but that is what makes me most excited to get started.”

The rest of the top five was rounded out by fourth runner up Stephanie Carstens, third runner up Kendall Hake, second runner up Lauren Prudenti and first runner up Eliza Hardick, all juniors.

Carstens danced to “Stand” by the Rascal Flatts, and mentioned in her onstage interview that dancing is what brings her the most joy. Her platform was Mental Health Awareness, and she chose that because she feels that not enough people understand it, and that there a lot of myths and misconceptions she would like to help clear up. Carstens is a psychology major.

Hake, a marketing major, showed off her talent for baton twirling to Britney Spears’ latest song “Circus.” She would like to be able to raise autism awareness on the campus, which was her platform.

Psychology major Prudenti had another unique talent. She performed a comedy routine, which was well received by the crowd. During her onstage question, she noted that the one thing she would change about the University would be to extend the library hours to a full 24 hours.

Hardick showcased her vocal skills by singing “Beautiful” by Bethany Dillon. During her onstage interview, the nursing major noted that being biracial had affected her self-esteem, but now looks at as being one of the best things to happen to her. Raising self-esteem was Hardick’s platform for the pageant.

Dr. Michelle Filling, the first Miss WCU winner from 1999 hosted the event, with help from Miss WCU 2008 Jackie Chilcote. Filling gave a brief history of the pageant, detailing its journey from a small event in the basement of Killinger Hall to where it is now- a full-scale production in front of a packed concert hall. To date, the Miss WCU organization has given $25,000 in scholarships to winners.

The Miss WCU pageant is unique in that a very large percentage of the final score (40 percent) comes from the ten-minute interview, which takes place earlier in the day with the panel of judges. The rest of the scores are made up from 25 percent talent/free expression, 15 percent causal wear, 15 percent evening wear and 5 percent on stage question.

Filling recognized Iron Hill Brewery as the Sponsor of the Year, having hosted the Judges’ Dinner. She also recognized Scott Davis and Todd Williams and the rest of the Philips Memorial Building staff as Fans of the Year.

Jenn Rothstein is a second year student majoring in English with a minor in education. She can be reached at QuadEIC@wcupa.edu.

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