By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Colleen Dolan, a junior at The Packer Collegiate Institute, doesn’t believe in waiting for opportunities to arrive at her doorstep. She’d rather create her own. During her time at the downtown Brooklyn school she has helped create two clubs, one for county music fans like herself and another called the “Girl Up Club,” which raises money through bake sales and other activities for a United Nations program to help young females in impoverished countries.
But Colleen’s most recent venture actual did arrive on her doorstep. She received an invitation in the mail from the sponsors of the Miss Teen USA pageant to take part in the http://www.2013newyorkcitypageants.com/ Miss Teen NYC contest, first leg of the nationwide competition for young women. She jumped at the change.
“I thought it was a unique opportunity to do something different. This is the first contest I’ve ever done,” Colleen, 17, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
Colleen, who lives in Bay Ridge, answered the mail and after an introductory interview with a panel of judges, was accepted as a contestant in the Miss Teen NYC contest. The preliminary round will take place April 14 at Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School. Prior to that, she will attend a training session for contestants on March 30.
The Miss Teen NYC contest is a younger version of the legendary Miss America pageant, but with major differences. “There is no swimsuit or talent portion,” Colleen said. There is a fashion component, however. “We will model casual wear and then formal wear,” she said.
The winner of the Miss Teen NYC contest will go on to compete in the state pageant. The winner of that contest will go on to represent the state in the Miss Teen USA pageant to be held later this year.
The grand prize is a $30,000 college scholarship. Colleen said the scholarship is a big reason why she entered the contest. There are other reasons, too. “Just being in a contest is going to be fun. I think it would be great to meet new friends. I also think it will help me gain confidence. It’s going to be a whole new experience for me,” she said.
Contestants are required to line up sponsors and pay a $490 entry fee in order to participate. “I’ve been going around to local businesses, asking them to sponsor me,” Colleen said. So far, she has lined up Da Noi Salon & Spa, Charmed, Photography Elite, El Barrio News, and Caffe Cafe in Bay Ridge to sign on as sponsors.
Colleen said she believes the judges are looking for a contestant with beauty, poise, intelligence, and an outgoing personality. “I think they’re looking for a well-rounded person,” she said. Colleen, a teen with diverse interests, would seem to fit the bill. In addition to the Country Music Club and the Girl Up Club, she is a member of the Model Congress Club, a group of students interested in government. She also plays on the school’s volleyball and softball teams. She taught herself to play the guitar and is also a dancer.
Colleen has one more year to go at The Packer Collegiate Institute and then it’s on to college. She hasn’t decided on a college yet. “I’m thinking about going into social work, or psychology, perhaps law,” she said.