1999 America Junior Miss Awards Photo - Joseph Dayyeh
America's Junior Miss
The national scholarship program, America's Junior
Miss, began as part of a community floral festival to become a
program in which thousands of high school senior girls participate
in approximately 600 Junior Miss competitions each year.
Headquartered in Mobile, it is now the oldest and largest
scholarship program for girls.
In the late 1920s, the Mobile Junior Chamber of Commerce, now
called Jaycees, began the annual Azalea Trail Festival to encourage
community participation in city beautification projects. After
World War II, the Jaycees invited local high school senior girls to
compete for modest awards, plus the title of Azalea Trail Queen.
Over the years the pageant grew, and girls from other southern
states were also competing. In 1957, the program was incorporated
and renamed the Junior Miss American Pageant. (The Azalea Trail
Festival continues as a separate activity.)
In 1958, the program presented $10,000 in scholarship awards to
finalists. The following year, the organization revised its name to
America's Junior Miss Pageant. By the 1999 finals, 2,061 girls had
participated as state Junior Miss representatives. Scholarship
offerings have also increased to $50,000-plus to the winning Junior
Miss. Judging criteria are based on achievement and personal
development. Girls compete in the areas of scholarship, talent,
fitness and poise. Among Junior Miss winners who have become
nationally known in their careers are Diane Sawyer, Mary Frann, Kim
Crosby Westenberg, Julie Bryan Moran, and Deborah Norville.
Documentation includes a text report, photographs and a
Originally submitted by: Sonny Callahan, Representative (1st District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.