Makinley Smith, a rising freshman at Medford’s secondary school, was crowned Miss Medford 2019 during the community’s sixth-annual pageant Thursday night.

The achievement “feels awesome,” especially considering this was Smith’s first time entering a pageant, she said. Her friends persuaded her to attempt it, and spending time with those same friends has been a highlight of the process.

She’s also spreading the gospel to other girls her age, she said. Anyone considering entering the pageant “definitely should do it, no matter what place they get.”

Smith’s key to success in the pageant was simply “being confident,” she said. Her favorite school subject is science, she’s a cheerleader and softball player, she currently works at McDonald’s, and she plans to eventually attend the University of Minnesota.

Smith is grateful for the support of her teachers in Medford, she said. “They care about your life in and out of school.”

Jenesis McGuire, 14, who also is a member of the softball and cheerleading teams, was first runner-up for Miss Medford. McGuire is interested in social work and therapy for children, she’s babysitting this summer, and she believes the best thing about Medford is that “everybody is so nice to everybody.”

Samantha Luebben, second runner-up, enjoys her history classes. She plans to eventually attend Alexandria Technical College, and her mother is her top influence.

“My mom supports me and both my brothers,” said Luebben, another rising freshman. “I hope to be half the woman she is.”

Also Thursday, Adrianna Schlund, who was 2016’s Little Miss Medford, was crowned Junior Miss Medford over first runner-up Mylie Born, and second runner-up Lauren Smith. Smith also walked away with the Miss Congeniality designation.

Jaida Erickson-Troska, age 8, was named Little Miss Medford over 14 other competitors in the category for ages 7-10. Audry Wilson and Olivia Lannoye, both 7, were first and second runner-up, respectively.

Judges Thursday were Anel Beascochea, board member for the Exchange Club Center for Family Unity, Lois Nelson, Medford’s mayor, and Maddie Krensky, Miss Medford 2018. Krensky was also the official crowner, while Morgan Jones and Jayden Schweisthal, 2018’s Junior Miss Medford and Little Miss Medford, respectively, also assisted on stage as attendants.

Including the 16 girls involved with Tiny Miss, for ages 3-6, Thursday’s pageant boasted 37 total participants, “really strong numbers,” said Tim Finley, the master of ceremonies. “The pageant is all about having fun and bringing the community together.”

“All of our girls are winners,” because “it takes a lot of courage to get up here on stage,” Finley added. The motto of this pageant for participants is simply: “be yourself, and do your best.”

{span}Reach Reporter Ryan Anderson at 507-444-2376 or follow him on Twitter @randerson_ryan.{/span}

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