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Ms Senior Sweetheart Pageant
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2008 Winners

From left to right: Third runner-up, Phyllis Chickett from MN. First runner-up, Ruth Gibson from ME. 2009 Queen - Toya Andrew from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. Second runner-up, Connie Gabriel from MN. 4th runner-up and winner of the Flaming Glow award, Lynnette Schlager from Pahrump, Nevada.

2007 Winners

The winners' court at this year's Senior Sweethearts pageant is shown above. From left to right are first runner-up Frances Christian, second runner-up Lynette Schlager, Marty Tuohy and his wife, Miss Senior Sweetheart winner Carol Tuohy, fourth runner-up Divina Alora-Jacome, and third runner-up Sharon Maloney.

Steve Aguiar, Chairman of the Board of Directors
of Ms Senior Sweetheart Pageants of American Inc,
with 2005-2006 queen Virginia Freeman and Anita Raposa,
1st Queen of the Ms Senior Sweetheart Pageants in 1978

 Tess Smith 
The Herald News
A royal sweetheart
DEBORAH ALLARD-BERNARDI, Herald News Staff Reporter November 05, 2001
FALL RIVER -- The art of aging gracefully was displayed on the B.M.C. Durfee High School stage Sunday as the seventh annual national Ms. Senior Sweetheart Pageant burst into action.
Twenty-three pageant contestants broke into song, dance and merriment, displaying their talent and thrilling the filled-to-the-gills auditorium.

For the patriotic routine, where all were dressed in red, white and blue, the stage was decorated with a large flag, patriotic balloons, and was complete with saluting police officers and firefighters. By the end of the ladies' leg-kicking dance, not a dry eye was left.

Twelve finalists performed their talent routines, which ranged from Vaudeville to jazz, and from a Grecian veil dance to country line dancing.

Their costumes were superb, many of the woman decked out in sequins and bright colors.

The audience cheered for the beautiful singing voice of Gladys Perkins of Somerset, who has suffered for 45 years with multiple sclerosis. She sang "Anyone Can Move a Mountain" from her wheelchair surrounded by three of her oil paintings.

Rose Singleton of Louisville, Ky. delighted the crowd with a funny story-song about moving in with one of her five sons -- and paying them back for years of jumping on beds, writing on walls and drinking from milk cartons.

There was a "Boogie-Woogie Bugleboy" dance by Marion Gagnon of Fall River, who dressed in shining silver and black sequins, moving her feet expertly to the tunes.

It was hard for judges to choose winners from all the performances they watched.

When the gown walks began, everyone commented on the colors and beading of the dresses sparkling under the lights, as each woman made her way across the stage, smiling to the audience and judges.

When it came time to hear the winners' names, pageant President Len Kaplan first danced briefly with each "sweetheart" exchanging a few unheard words, and a kiss on the cheek or forehead.

Kaplan credited the women for having the courage to participate in the pageant. He said there were 31 contestants originally, but since Sept. 11, a few had dropped out of the race.

The first award, similar to a "Miss Congeniality" for the over-59 crowd, was called the "Flaming Glow" award. The contestants on Friday evening voted for their Miss Congeniality, who was named as Marion Gagnon of Fall River.

Theresa Pereira of Tiverton, at age 84, was awarded as the Elder State's Lady, being the eldest of the group.

Fifth runner-up was Tamara Swihart of Jackson, Mich. For her talent portion, she performed a "clogging" to the song "Lord of the Dance," wearing a red sequined outfit.

Fourth runner-up was D'Juana Oxford of Pasadena, Texas. She sings, dances and makes her own jewelry, and has been active in her community for more than 50 years.

Third runner-up was Gladys Perkins of Somerset, who won the audience by singing in her wheelchair and inspiring the crowd that anything is possible.

The second runner-up was Virginia Freeman of Fredericksburg, Va. At age 81, she has four children, 10 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

The first runner-up was Allie McCullough of Kennesaw, Ga. A gospel secular singer, she has been a broadcaster and professional performer, appearing on television as well with the Billy Graham crusade.

With great anticipation, Kaplan announced the winner of the 2001 Ms. Senior Sweetheart pageant. Teresita "Tess" P. Smith of Las Vegas, Nev. was crowed as sweetheart.

Born in the Philippines, Smith performed a "Tribute to Love," dressed in a floor-length gown of exotic flowers, with blooms on the head and a flowered lei around her neck. She served 21 years in the U.S. Army and received numerous commendations and medals. She was honored as Clark County mother of the year in 1999.

Kaplan has hopes of eventually having women from all 50 states compete for the sweetheart title.

Deborah Allard-Bernardi may be reached at dbernardi@heraldnews.com.

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Ms Senior Sweetheart Pageants of America Inc
P O Box 3709
Fall River, MA 02722
Phone: 508-675-0249

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