Jessica Burris did not make the top 10 in last Saturday night's Miss Oregon pageant in Seaside, but the Lake Oswego resident who is Miss Clackamas County 2008 still feels like a winner.
During the course of the night she shared the Karen Smith Memorial Miss Congeniality Award with another contestant, and was also given the Jenny 'Mother' Bremer Memorial Meeting the Challenge Award.
'Competing at Miss Oregon this year has made my dream of becoming Miss America one step closer to a reality. The wonderful people in this volunteer-run program, at the local and state level, are training me in the necessary steps to reach my goal. I am so thrilled,' Burris said.
'The total amount of earnings I have received for this year from the Miss America Organization is $2,000. I am paying my way through college and this is a blessing in helping me reach my goal of a bachelor's degree in bus-iness marketing at the University of Oregon and starting a sustainable fashion design company in the near future,' she added.
Burris' roommate in Seaside was Danijela Krstic, who was named Miss Ore-gon, and Burris said it was 'my honor to know her and compete with her. I saw her shine and I love her character.
'It was so special seeing her win - she could be the next Miss America.'
Burris won the Miss Clackamas County competition in March, and it is her first title and first time competing at the state level.
'This is a wonderful organization - it has built such strength in me,' she said.
'I want to thank my hometown, the people in Lake Oswego and Clackamas County, for building that character in me - for being positive role models.'
She noted that she will be in the Fourth of July parade on Friday that winds its way through downtown Lake Oswego, and added, 'I want to step up and make my voice heard in the community so I can be a good, positive role model.
'Lake Oswego and Clackamas County have so many young women who fit the mold. I'd like to see them get connected, and I'd love to share my experiences. It takes a city to raise a strong woman.'
The age requirements are 17, for those who are currently seniors in high school, up to 24, for those in college now or planning to attend by fall 2009. The Miss Clackamas pageant is usually held in early March.