Local pageant aims for NAB air time

PUHI — Will the 2007 Miss Kaua‘i and 2007 Miss Garden Isle make the broadcast at an upcoming national convention?

Segments of the pageant Saturday night were being filmed by a husband-wife team using a new high-definition Sony camcorder for presentation at the National Association of Broadcasters convention coming up later in the year.

The pair worked through the various segments of the scholarship pageant, but homed in on the special presentation done by Daphne Sanchez.

“We’re here for two weeks doing some B-footage that will end up at the NAB,” the pair said prior to the start of the pageant featuring nine beauties vying for two titles — Miss Garden Isle 2007 and Miss Kaua‘i 2007.

Working through five judged segments leading up to the crowning of the two eventual winners, host J Robertson said, “This has been the closest competition in the history of the pageant.”

The point spread was so narrow there was an unplanned 10-minute intermission so judges and auditors could concur on the final figures.

When all the math was done, Naomi Almadova, whose platform was Caring for Aging America, was voted the Best Spirit in front of a good-sized audience at the Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center.

Rachel Gonzales, who aims to become a pediatrician while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Science, was voted the Most Congenial by her peers.

Malina Pereza, who graduated from Kaua‘i High School, earned the top swimsuit award.

Sabrina Ponciano, performing a dramatic and energetic lyrical jazz dance to “Listen,” went on to capture the top talent award.

That award counted 35 percent to the overall judging, and Ponciano was named Miss Garden Isle 2007, receiving her crown and sash from Angela Everhart, the reigning Miss Garden Isle.

But it was the announcement of Cava-Lei Wilson as the 2007 Miss Kaua‘i that sent the audience into frenzied cheer as the Kapa‘a senior — who balances a curriculum at KCC as well — was named the 2007 Miss Kaua‘i.

Reacting in a mixture of elation and surprise, Wilson accepted her crown and sash from Jasmine Ornellas, the reigning Miss Kaua‘i.

Both winners will go on to represent Kaua‘i at the Miss Hawai‘i state competition scheduled for June on O‘ahu.

Headed by Rose Dahle, the Miss Garden Isle and Miss Kaua‘i Scholarship Pageant Committee provided more than $44,000 worth of scholarships Saturday night.

The committee consists of community volunteers determined to recognize the young women of Kaua‘i through this pageant that serves as a preliminary pageant to the Miss Hawai‘i and the Miss America programs.

Dahle acknowledged several of the sponsors who have been with her since the two pageants were melded into a single event seven years ago.

Contestants for this year’s program included a host of former students from Kaua‘i’s high schools.

Joining Wilson and Ponciano were Kalai Kamauoha, Rye-Lee Cracknell, Kealoha Mento, Almadova, Gonzales, Mercedes Johnston and Pereza.

Art Umezu, Kaua‘i’s film commissioner and contest judge, said the Sony team will be touring the island in search of local excitement.

Umezu said among their stops is a visit to the class of Kevin Matsunaga, video instructor at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, where they will talk about the new pro-sumer high definition video camera with the students in the video program.

Other judges included Henry Ah Sum Taeza, Holly Wong Zahn, Peggy Miller and Kirk Chaffee.


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