• Ashbrook High School combines its pageants and raised more than $6,600

    Ashbrook High School put a new twist on one of its traditions, and the change resulted in the school raising more than $6,600 for two local organizations.

    For the first time, the school combined its popular Mr. Ashbrook and Miss Ashbrook pageants into what was called the “Ashbrook All-Star Pageant.”  The event on March 18 featured 21 contestants participating in traditional competition phases such as talent and formal/evening wear, but it was the “alternative wear” phase with the contestants dressing as various characters that stole the show.

    Zo’Rion Tate was crowned Mr. Ashbrook, and Zemariah Webb was crowned Miss Ashbrook for 2023.  Tate wowed the audience with slam poetry for the talent competition, and Webb performed a hip-hop dance. Jason Nichols and Journie Armstrong were the runners-up.

    Tate and Webb were not the only winners.  Cancer Services of Gaston County and the Special Olympics of Gaston County took home a big prize as well.  The pageant was a fundraiser for Cancer Services of Gaston County, and the organization received a contribution of $6,292.25.  Additionally, concession sales totaled $361.61 and that money was donated to the Special Olympics.  Contestant Maggie Griffin was recognized with a special award for raising $1,049 on her own.

    Teacher pageant co-director Leslie Wyatt said, “Working with these amazing students was a great experience.  From the contestants to the support crew, I was impressed with their dedication and energy.  To be able to work with students who not only love their school, but also love their community means everything to me as an educator.”

    “I was so impressed by every contestant,” added teacher and co-director Ashley Rimmer.  “This is such a great group of students, and they were all supportive of one another throughout the entire pageant experience.  Seeing how excited they were to give back to the community makes me proud to be an Ashbrook teacher.”

    Staging high school pageants in Gaston County is a tradition that dates back to the 1960s and 1970s.  Back then, it was common for high school contestants to go on to win other pageant titles such as Miss Gastonia and compete for Miss North Carolina.  There are a number of teachers and school administrators working for Gaston County Schools today who participated in pageants while in high school as a way to win scholarship money, improve their communication and presentation skills, be involved in community service, and showcase their talent.

    Talent remains a favorite part of Ashbrook’s pageant program.  This year’s routines ranged from performances of original music to various dance routines.  Another highlight was the presentation of competition-related awards that are named for the teachers who sponsored them.  

    Below is a list at the competition-related award winners:

    ▪ Jonathan Buckner Helping Hand Tech Crew Award - Luc Hoffmann
    ▪ Amy Carruthers Behind-the-Scenes Award - My’Kayla Hill-Rodriguez
    ▪ Sandra Smith Stellar Service Award - Pabella Cano Vargas
    ▪ Samantha Young Spectacular Spokesman Award - Zo’Rion Tate
    ▪ Anna Guzauskas Ray of Sunshine Award - Sydnei Bagnerise
    ▪ Darius James Don’t Stop Believing Award - Hunter Vowell
    ▪ Jeff Guzauskas Ashbrook Legacy Award - Journie Armstrong
    ▪ Amber Tuttle Ashbrook Cares Award - Maggie Griffin
    ▪ Larry Carpenter Leadership Award - Olivia Swann
    ▪ Tishawana Leach Remarkable in Runway Award - Joycelyn Marlowe
    ▪ Kristen Childers Creative and Captivating Character Award - Journie Armstrong
    ▪ Jesse Birnstihl Shining Star Talent Award - Trinity Osorio