Young women ages 17 to 25 are invited to compete in the sixth annual Miss Juneteenth Pageant. Contestants can sign up for the pageant at a rehearsal set for 6 p.m. Monday at the Killeen Community Center, 2201 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd.

There is no entry fee for the competition, said Gladys Peterson, pageant coordinator.

The Miss Juneteenth Pageant is hosted by the Killeen branch of the NAACP and sponsored by several local organizations. The winner will hold the crown of Miss Juneteenth for one year and represent the Killeen NAACP at various events.

The purpose of the pageant is to support and encourage young ladies to reach their personal and educational goals, Peterson said. Contestants will be judged on charm, poise, talent and intellect.

Surena Ellis, the reigning Miss Juneteenth, encouraged other girls to participate in the pageant.

“I feel really honored to have been chosen to represent the NAACP,” Ellis said. “Being in the parade and being part of the Juneteenth celebration … it felt like I was part of something really important. Not only was it fun but I also learned a lot, made new friends and got to do things that I never would (have) done otherwise.”

The Miss Juneteenth Pageant is at 7 p.m. June 13 at the Lions Club Park Senior Center in Killeen. It is free and open to the public.

The pageant kicks off Killeen’s three-day Juneteenth celebration. This year marks the 24th anniversary of Juneteenth celebrations in Killeen and also marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln.

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