On Saturday, Feb. 27, at Drexel University, months of preparation will result in two West Chester University students competing at the Miss Philadelphia competition. Senior Ruth Hochberg and senior and Miss WCU 2015 Nia Andrews will be competing in the pageant.

During the pageant, Hochberg and Andrews, along with the other contestants, will be judged based on a press-conference style interview (25 percent of score), an on-stage question (5 percent of score), 90 seconds of an on-stage talent (35 percent of score), swimsuit (15 percent of score), and evening gown (20 percent of score).

Hochberg and Andrews have both competed in Miss WCU. Hochberg competed in 2014 and 2015.

“Michael Hartman, the Director of Miss WCU, fostered such a friendly and positive environment that I left each pageant with new friendships with the contestants and awesome memories,” said Hochberg.

Hochberg chose to compete in Miss Philadelphia, knowing she was not eligible to compete in Miss WCU 2016 as a senior. She wanted to continue her experience with pageants, so she looked into Miss Philadelphia.

Andrews has only ever competed in Miss WCU last year, when she won the competition. She was inspired to audition for Miss Philadelphia after seeing the pageant last year.

For Hochberg, the Miss Philadelphia pageant offers an opportunity to speak about her platform: Cystic Fibrosis (CF). As the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation defines it, CF is a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe.

“I have two friends with CF, and throughout college staying up to date with medical news about CF and fundraising for a cure for CF has become a passion of mine,” said Hochberg. “The Miss America Organization is a scholarship organization, so the money awarded at pageants goes toward the higher education of the recipients. If I were to win Miss Philadelphia, I would spend my year promoting CF awareness and raising funds to research a cure for CF with the community.”

Andrews will be competing for her platform which raises awareness for premature birth.

“In 2003, my sister, Bria Andrews, was born October 20 when her expected due date was January 18. She had a 40 percent chance of survival and a 20 percent that there wouldn’t be any physiological or mental birth defect wrong with her,” said Andrews. “Despite the odds, my sister is now 12 years old and living a healthy life with no disabilities. Just seeing the emotional and physical obstacles that my sister and my family as a whole had to overcome, I wanted to give back and advocate for an organization that has given me the best gift in life.”

A big part of the Miss Philadelphia pageant is the on-stage talent.

“Dance is the common thread that ties the universe together through geographic lines,” said Andrews.

She will be performing a lyrical dance to “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. She has been dancing since she was four years old, so it has become second nature for her to dance.

Hochberg will be performing an American Sign Language interpretation to music.

“In the same way that spoken word showcases the beauty of the English language, I feel like ASL interpretation showcases the beauty of ASL, which is a visual language,” said Hochberg. “It’s also a talent that both the d/Deaf community and the hearing community can enjoy together.”

Anyone interested in cheering on Hochberg and Andrews can learn more about how to buy tickets for the pageant at http://www.MissPhilly.org/Tickets.html. Tickets are $35.

Theresa Kelly is a fourth-year student majoring in English literature secondary education. She can be reached at TK780615@wcupa.edu.

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