The Miss Lehi’s Outstanding Teen competition was presented last Saturday despite COVID-19 restrictions creating a date and venue change. Seven impressive young ladies had prepared for months to show off their talents in public speaking, physical wellness, and their willingness to serve the city at the Roaring 2020s-themed pageant. At the end of the program, Skyridge senior Savana Brown was crowned Miss Lehi’s Outstanding Teen 2020.
“I’ve been so nervous all week and I haven’t been able to sleep, but right before I walked into my interview, I was really calm. I feel like I did my best tonight and I loved bonding with the other girls backstage,” said Savana. Her vocal performance of a modern arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” blew the doors off the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point. “I felt really good about my performance – I think that’s the best I’ve done it,” said Savana.
Savana Brown’s platform, a requirement for the sister organization of the Miss America Scholarship Organization, is “This Is Me; I Am Not My Disability – Making the Uncomfortable Comfortable.” She was inspired by her younger brother Lincoln, who has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. One of Savana’s goals is to serve the special needs community in Lehi. She is already working with members of the City Council in raising funds for an all-abilities park.
“Lincoln is the sweetest kid and so funny, but he doesn’t like me very much,” Savana admitted with a laugh. Her parents, Scott and Megan Brown added, “He likes to be tough and cool like his brothers, but he loves his big sister.” Savana’s parents were worried about her competing for a third year in a row for the crown. “This has been a good experience for her, but it felt like there was more on the line this time,” said Megan Brown. Miss Lehi’s Outstanding Teen must be 13 to 17 to compete for the title, and this would be Savana’s last year of eligibility. In addition to winning the crown and a $750 scholarship, Savana earned the most sponsorships and a $50 prize, the Miracle Maker Award that comes with a $50 prize, the Director’s Award, worth another $50, and scored the most points during the talent portion of the program and won $100 for that. Savana has maintained a 4.0-grade point average through junior high and high school, and she even spoke a little French for the judges during her private interview.
The candidates for Miss Lehi’s Outstanding Teen had interviews with six judges early in the afternoon, then a program at the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point hosted by Miss Lehi, Lindsey Larsen, and Miss Lehi’s Outstanding Teen 2019, Analeigha Meek. Only immediate family members were allowed to view the show live, but it was streamed online. The candidates performed together in 1920s fringed dresses and headbands for the opening number in addition to taking the stage for a short solo Lifestyle and Wellness routine, Talent, and Evening Wear/On-Stage Question.
Savana Brown will be serving with First Attendant Annabelle McKinnon and Second Attendant Cambri Faith Burgon. Annabelle, a junior at Lehi High School, wowed the judges with her “Creativity Crate” project at the Lehi Arts Center, her show-stopper vocal performance of “Orange Colored Sky” for her talent, and her poise on stage. She shared that, “every activity includes a form of creativity.” In addition to a $500 scholarship, Annabelle took home a $25 prize for selling the most live-stream tickets to the program. Second Attendant Cambri Burgon won a $250 scholarship as well as the Spirit of Miss Lehi (Miss Congeniality), an award chosen by the other candidates. Cambri choreographed the lyrical dance she performed for her talent.
“I did not know what to expect with COVID-19, but the production was amazing. It is so apparent that you invest in your girls and I was pleased I was part of Saturday’s group of judges,” said Haley Merkley, one of the six judges for Miss Lehi’s Outstanding Teen.
“I had such a great time. It’s very uplifting to see the future of feminism! All those young women were so incredible,” added Jay Hafen, another judge and a ballroom instructor at Lehi High School.
“I’m so happy and excited about this new royalty. Despite all the difficulties this year with the pandemic and conforming to all the restrictions to keep people safe, it ended up being great,” said Jennifer Thomas, co-director with her daughter Caitlin Thomas, of Miss Lehi’s Outstanding Teen. “I feel like every single girl had an amazing night, and they should all be proud. I wish we could give all of them a crown.”