By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
The Miss Broken Arrow Scholarship Pageant has proved to be one of the most challenging and rewarding events in the community. The Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center hosted the event Feb. 20.
As part of the Miss America Organization, the event will bring the opportunity for contestants to move forward to the state and national pageants. Ashley Gharibvand was named Miss Broken Arrow 2009 after placing first in the event last year.
Having called Broken Arrow home all of her life, the pageant opened the doors to become deeply involved in the community. Gharibvand has most enjoyed having the opportunity to speak to children in area schools about the importance of envisioning a bright future. “This community has been so great to me so any chance I get, I am more than happy to give back.”
The pageant offers much more than titles to contestants. “The challenges that were thrown my way have truly shaped me into the person that I am today. I have a new confidence and feel that I am ready for anything.”
There were a number of challenges that Gharibvand faced and overcame with increasing confidence during the pageant last year. “I really had to be able to speak to people of all ages and have the confidence to walk into a room, take control and hold their attention.”
After five years of competition, Gharibvand has decided to hang up her crown. “I have gained so much and have now received enough scholarships to finish my education and start a new chapter in my life.”
Having recently earning a bachelor of science, she plans to begin optometry school and then open a practice in her hometown.
Executive Director of the Miss Broken Arrow Pageant Judy Smith has noticed the eagerness and dedication that Gharibvand has and feels that she is a great role model for the new contestants this year. “Both inside and out, Ashley has become a beautiful young woman who knows where she is headed.”
Gharibvand hopes to encourage anyone with the slightest bit of interest to participate in the Miss Broken Arrow Scholarship Pageant. “There is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. The people that I got to meet and the opportunities that came my way are friendships and memories that are worth a lifetime.”
For additional information, visit www.brokenarrowchamber.com.