A 17-year-old Arkansas City teen won the Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen competition Saturday at Pratt Community College. Kristen Boxman, the daughter of Mark and Lynn Boxman, also won awards for lifestyles and fitness and for talent, with a tap dance to "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." She will compete in the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Fla., in August.
Boxman declared herself to be "speechless" after the crowning.
"I was first runner up last year and I knew I wanted to do it again," she said. "It's been an amazing journey, I've made friends that will last a lifetime, and I'm ready for the ride."
She will be a senior at Arkansas City High School, where she has been on the dance line for four years and will serve as class president. An internship in the theater department at Cowley College is her favorite part of the day and will give her a head start on her college major and planned career.
She began taking dance lessons at age five and has danced competitively for eight years.
She credits her dance teachers for not only helping her develop the skills she needs to be a showman on stage, but for building her confidence.
The teen pageant has all the elements of the Miss Kansas Pageant, with an important difference. The teens demonstrate their fitness, not in swimsuits, but in workout wear. The capri leggings, sparkly black tops and hot pink sports bras or tanks were sponsored by Melissa Jacobs, a local dance instructor and coordinator for the Sunflower Princess program.
Instead of a brief walk, the teens preceded their competition with an aerobic fitness production, and performed a set of workout maneuvers for judges.
Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen 2012 Stevie Mack danced as a principal entertainer in the show. Miss Kansas 2009 Becki Ronen Walenz served as master of ceremonies and performed a trumpet-piano duet of "Bring Them Home" with Emily Deaver, Miss Kansas 2008.
One purpose of the teen pageant is to serve as a feeder pageant for Miss Kansas, Walenz noted. The teen pageant gets stronger every year, and this year, six of the Miss contestants, including two former titleholders, were former teen pageant contestants.
"They are an amazing group of teens," said MKOT director Lisa Ronen. "They're so refreshing; they take every bit of challenge and advice. They are so eager to learn."