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Hastings student competes in national pageant

Sally wore traditional Maasai clothing for the causual wear contest. (Submitted photos)1 / 2
Sally is pictured on stage as she performs a poem.2 / 2

Hastings resident Sally Makena, a first-grader at Pine Harbor Christian Academy, made her trip to the National American Miss Pageant, held in California at the end of November. She earned a spot on the stage in June, when she earned the fourth runner-up spot in the talent competition at the state pageant.

"What an amazing experience it was for her and for our family," wrote her mother, Ann Makena, in an email. "Sally did an amazing job on that national stage. We learned many things and she and all of us are very excited for next year."

Although Sally didn't get to compete in the main pageant, she did take the stage for a few optional contests, including formal wear, talent and casual wear modeling contests. She competed in the Princess division, for 4- to 6-year-olds.

For the talent contest, Sally performed a poem and some of her favorite verses of Bible scripture.

"One of the things we realized very quickly, is that we made the wrong choice for her," Ann Makena wrote. "Sally can speak well and very few kids competed in the speeches and advertising compared to talent, which had 108 kids competing with dances and singing; and that's where we put Sally to compete with poetry."

Still, competing in the talent category wasn't for naught.

"We also saw an instant growth in Sally by her observing those very talented children on stage," Ann Makena wrote. "We certainly hope for her to grow up in that environment."

For the casual wear contest, Sally presented the Maasai outfit and culture. The Maasai people are from eastern Africa, near where Ann herself grew up.

Sally's competition wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for a number of sponsorships.

"We are very thankful to Chrysler Hastings, Ford Hastings, Smiles Dentistry in Woodbury and many friends and family who financial support Sally's great opportunity and made it easier for us in supporting her growth," Ann Makena said.