Jamestown sends two to Miss High School America Pageant

Two Jamestown teenagers who won the Miss North Dakota Junior High and High School pageants in October will compete for the national titles in Orlando, Fla.

Pageant winners
Photo courtesy / Tessie Jones Photography Miss North Dakota High School Meghanne Quam, 17, right, and Miss North Dakota Junior High Kaycee Johnson, 14,left, both of Jamestown, will compete for national titles from June 28 through July 6 in Orlando, Fla.

Two Jamestown teenagers who won the Miss North Dakota Junior High and High School pageants in October will compete for the national titles in Orlando, Fla.

Meghanne Quam, 17, won the state high school title in her first-ever pageant, while Kaycee Johnson, 14, won the junior high competition in her second attempt. The two will be at Disney World from June 28 through July 6 in pursuit of national titles with the Miss Junior High, Miss High School, and Miss Collegiate America Organization.

The girls will show their designer dresses from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Gladstone Inn & Suites, 201 1st Ave. N. The event will be held for people to wish the contestants luck, and the girls will accept freewill offerings to help offset travel costs.

Quam, who will be a senior at Jamestown High School in the fall, has already earned her certified nursing assistant certification. She also works with her mother at Nicole's Unique Bridal and Prom Boutique.

Quam said she was confident in her competition, but she did not expect to win the title, much less win first place in every category.


"I was really surprised when I was winning in the categories," Quam said. "I thought, 'Holy cow, I have never won anything in my life and here I am.'"

Quam said the experience has given her confidence to believe she can win the national title. She said the preparation to compete as one of 52 contestants is intense and humbling.

Quam will be wearing a Jovani designer dress for the formal gown judging. There is a fun in the sun fashion category, but the pageant does not have a swimsuit competition.

Quam would like to be the first North Dakota candidate to place in the top 15. Once back in school she looks forward to more nursing classes, basketball and singing with the Jamestown High School choir.

Johnson has competed in six pageants since she was 9 years old. She finished as third runner-up in the 2013 Miss North Dakota Junior High pageant before winning the competition in 2014.

The national pageant has a lot of perks, she said, and the modeling opportunities along with a $10,000 scholarship were appealing to her.

Johnson's older sister, McKenzie, won the state title in 2013. She went to nationals and won the best evening gown competition but didn't place overall with the finalists.

Johnson will be wearing a Mori Lee dress in the formal gown competition.


"Doing fun fashion is very easy for me, and I want to let people know that I can be fun even when I am wearing heels with my hair done and in a dress," Johnson said.

The interview portion is serious. The category presents the most points.

Johnson said she found a way to get over the interview anxiety that candidates sometimes struggle with answering questions that are really just based on their own resume. She said it helps to focus on being herself more than trying to impress the judges.

"The trick was also to be calm," Johnson said. "I like to be myself when I meet the judges for the first time and just have a normal conversation like I would with anybody."

In school, Johnson said she enjoys playing hockey, track and swimming. Although she is just a high school freshman, she is already talking about pursuing forensic anthropology or marine biology in college.

The scoring at nationals takes place all week as contestants are ushered around Disney World. The two girls will tour with their groups through professional photo shoots and have designer dress fittings.

The state wins earned Quam and Johnson modeling scholarships in Minneapolis where they were given training and a portfolio with a professional photo shoot.

The obligations with the state titles include making appearances and speaking engagements. Both girls said they speak in schools on the topic of bullying.


The bullying prevention campaign was adopted into the new national platform of the 2015 Miss Junior High, High School, and Collegiate America Organization.

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