Carterville teen wins crown

The journey towards Miss Illinois 2017 continued on Sunday night, when Janna Harner and Peyton Gehrs were crowned Miss Heartland 2017 and Miss Southern Illinois 2017 respectively, and Carterville resident Alexa Boese was crowned Miss Southern Illinois Outstanding Teen 2017.

The night began with the Miss Southern Illinois Outstanding Teen pageant, presided over by Miss Southern Illinois 2005 Lindsey Bush. Five area teens, ranging in age from 12 to 16, participated this year in four areas of competition. Contestants took part in a private interview earlier in the day, as well as the lifestyle and fitness, talent, and evening gown/onstage interview segments during the show on Sunday night.

After it was all over, Carterville High School student Alexa Boese took home the title of Miss Southern Illinois Outstanding Teen 2017, with Marion resident Shaelen Hudson coming in as the first runner up. Boese entertained judges with a performance of “Not for the Life of Me” from the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and discussed the importance of the Lions Club to those in need.

“I chose the Lions Club because it is an amazing international organization…I think it’s an amazing cause for people and for teens my age to get involved in, because it’s in everyone’s community,” Boese said.

Boese takes the title from reigning Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen and Marion resident Christine Bryant, who will pass on her state crown this summer. Boese also took home a $100 scholarship.

After the teen pageant was completed, the night moved on to the Miss Southern/Miss Heartland pageant.

Nine young women competed for the two titles in four areas of competition: swimsuit, talent, evening gown/onstage question, and private interview.

Anna resident and Miss Southern Illinois 2016 Janna Harner, who eventually took home the title of Miss Heartland 2017, wowed the crowds with a performance of “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder, and a strong answer on the importance of providing funding for those seeking to adopt.

Highland resident and SIU-Carbondale student Peyton Gehrs took home the title of Miss Southern Illinois 2017. Gehrs performed a dance routine set to “Son of a Preacher Man” and discussed the importance of agricultural education in Illinois, especially in the face of cuts.

In addition to a scholarship and gift certificates to The Pageant Room & Joyce’s Boutique, Vicky Waterbury, and Melise’s, Gehrs and Harner will join contestants from across the state at the Miss Illinois pageant in June at the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.