None of them sounded, looked or performed the same, but each girl had a few things in common — an intense nervousness mixed with courage as they took to the stage and sang their hearts out. It was all for a chance to win first place at the second annual American Legion Auxiliary Post 573 Spotlight on Kids competition and spaghetti dinner Saturday in Harker Heights.

“The competition raises funds to send two Harker Heights High School girls to Girls State,” said Post 573 President Vicki Dias.

The American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a summer program that teaches girls how government works and develops leadership skills. Although the five Spotlight contestants are too young to attend Girls State, they still showed their support by participating in the contest to help raise money.

“The turnout was great, we ran out of food, which has never happened before,” said Auxiliary First Vice President Kelly Sublett.

The girls were judged by a panel of three non-Legionnaires from the community, Nolanville Elementary School reading teacher Cricket Ricciardi, independent Ignite associate Steve Costa, and physician’s assistant Marty Lee.

“I know it must be nerve racking for them so I just want them to have fun,” Lee said.

In the first round, Kassidy Krpan, 11, from Audie Murphy Middle School sang “Pictures to Burn” by Taylor Swift; Maizie Foxx, 12, from Belton Middle School sang “Teardrops on My Guitar” by Taylor Swift; Bryna McMaster, 13, from Nolan Middle School sang “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele; Elizabeth Abernathy, 11, from Skipcha Elementary School sang “White Liar” by Miranda Lambert; and Loren McCullar, 10, from Skipcha Elementary sang “Take a Bow” by Taylor Swift.

After their first songs, the judges selected Bryna, Elizabeth and Maizie to move into the second and final round.

Remembering being a young girl herself and dancing and singing in front of the mirror, Lee advised the three girls to sing and dance like they do when they are alone at home.

In the end, Maizie took first place, with Elizabeth coming in second and Bryna in third.

“I will compete again if I can find more competitions,” Maizie said.

As for the $25 prize money, Maizie’s mother, Tiffany Foxx, said she knew exactly what her daughter would be spending it on: “Beauty products for her hair.”

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