Miss Suncoast Crowned in Florida Scholarship Pageant
By Renee Burrell
Photos courtesy of Miss Florida
ST. PETERSBURG - In her first attempt for the title, Miss Suncoast, Rachel Todd, from Ovedio won the crown of Miss Florida Saturday at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts' Mahaffey Theater in St Petersburg.
Forty six contestants vied for the crown including 'Miss Largo', Kaitlin Monte (Vocal - Astonishing - Supporting Citizens with Disabilities) and second runner up in the contest, 'Miss Pinellas County' Brittany Wardell (Baton Twirling -Bleeding Love- Mentoring and Promoting Healthy Lifestyles for Youth) who, along with Todd was a preliminary swimsuit winner.
The first runner up was Miss Florida Sunshine Kristina Janolo - Vocal: I Am Changing - Remember the Elderly (ret '08, '07). The second runner up was Miss Pinellas County Brittany Wardell. The third runner up was Miss St. Petersburg Katie Crews - Vocal: Someone Like You - Green Queens (new). And the fourth runner up was Miss Florida Gator Diana Kelly - Piano: Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata - Connecting Cultures Through Music (return '08).
The remaining of the 10 semifinalists were: Miss Tampa Ashley Pannagio, Miss University of Miami Jaife Calil, Miss Zephyrhills Ashley Ramsey, Miss South Florida Fair Cassie Stafford, and Miss Miami Jenise Fernandez.
The winner, Todd, performed the Irish Step Dance to the Rhythm of Ireland. She is a University of Central Florida senior majoring in Communications. She focused her pageant platform on "The Changing Face of Homelessness."
She volunteers with the nonprofit HOPE Foundation, which her mother established to help Central Florida families in crisis become self-sufficient through Housing, Outreach, Prevention, and Education.
Todd will be awarded a $15,000 scholarship and will go on to compete for the title of Miss America in January. All together this year's pageants will generate more than $60,000 in scholarships for participants.
The week's activities were hosted by the 2008 winner, St. Petersburg resident Sierra Minott, who finished as fourth runner-up in the 2009 Miss America Pageant in January in Las Vegas.
Miss Pinellas County, and the 2nd runner up in the Miss Florida pageant Brittany Wardell
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