Copperas Cove Five Hills Ambassador Briana Liles knows how to be a gracious loser. Year after year, she competed in the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant. The first year, she did not place. The next couple of years, she placed but did not win.
“I kept trying year after year because I knew one year would be my year to shine,” Liles said. “I competed several times and did not win, but that didn’t stop me from trying again. If you don’t enter, you can’t win.”
In 2018, Liles turned 9 years old and moved into the preteen category where she had to speak on stage about a charity or cause she would represent during her year-long reign if selected.
“Even though I was extremely shy, I knew it would mean more than any of the other years because I got to share my story and raise awareness about my cause of Alopecia,” Liles said.
Liles won the title of Preteen Miss Five Hills and contributed more than 800 hours of service during her year and was selected to reign a second year as the ambassador in 2019. She has since overcome her shyness, speaks to community groups about Alopecia, participates in live television interviews, and has even starred in a national television commercial.
Registration for the 7th Annual Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant opens on Saturday, Feb. 1, and runs through March 1. All contestants ages 0-8 receive prize packages valued at more than $250. All contestants ages 9 and older receive prize packages valued at more than $400 including free hair styling services and make-up application for the pageant at no charge. Applications are available on the City of Copperas Cove website at http://www.copperascovetx.gov/parks/five_hills_pageant/.
Winning the 2019 Young Miss Five Hills title was also a journey for Angelica Torres.
“I competed for two years, placing first runner-up both times, it was a loss that was hard to swallow. But, I felt that maybe God knew something I didn’t know and took my loss as a learning lesson on what I needed to do to improve,” Torres said.
In December 21, 2018, Torres was the first child in the United States to have a heart loop monitor embedded in her chest.
“I decided to use my condition as my platform to bring awareness to heart health and disorders, of which many are misdiagnosed,” Torres said. “Winning the title was exciting and overwhelming knowing that I had succeeded in what I wanted to accomplish for three years.”
Junior Miss Five Hills Hayley Sawyer also lost in her first year of the pageant but learned many things from the competition.
“When you really want something, you have to put your heart into it and work to make it happen,” Liles said. “I have also learned that I have one of greatest supporting communities here in Copperas Cove, helping me meet my goals with my platform, helping the homeless, with both people and businesses lending their time, locations and more. I’ve had the honor of representing our city and surrounding cities as well at home making this one year I will never forget.”
The pageant will award more than $85,000 in scholarships and prizes to its contestants this year with college scholarships. Preteen Miss Five Hills Kaydence Roberts is the recipient of three scholarships from the pageant having won three separate titles.
“When you win a title with this pageant, you become part of a family. Over the next twelve months, you get to know each other, forming a forever bond. You have so much fun and do so many things you never thought about,” Roberts said. “I have gotten to save and help a lot of animals over the three years I have held titles with the pageant. This year, I exceeded in helping animals by raising more support, awareness and funds than in previous years. The pageant makes these opportunities possible.”
The Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant has produced 16 Central Texas Incredible Kids and a National Lemonade Day Entrepreneur of the Year since it began in 2014. The pageant is held Saturday, March 21, at the Copperas Cove Civic Center. The children’s pageant for ages 0-8 for both boys and girls is held 1 to 4 p.m. The evening pageant at 6 p.m. welcomes female contestants ages 9-50+ years. Judges for the event are reigning titleholders and reside outside of Central Texas. The Miss Five Hills Scholarship Pageant is presented by Manning Homes and is an activity of the City of Copperas Cove Parks and Recreation Department. In addition to the city website, you can visit the pageant on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.