Eastman School of Music junior Lindsay O’Neil won the title of Miss Greater Rochester on Jan. 30. Thirteen contestants competed for the title of Miss Greater Rochester 2005. The competition consisted of five different phases, each scored by a panel of selected judges and broken into a percentage. During the extensive interviewing phase, worth 40 percent of the total score, each contestant was asked questions about their platforms, current events, facts about themselves and about their involvement within the Rochester community.

Moving on to the next phase, worth 30 percent of the score, the competitors were then asked to perform a two-minute talent of their choice. O’Neil chose to sing “Art is Calling for Me” from the “Enchantress” by Victor Herbert.

The swimsuit and evening gown portion, each worth 10 percent of the total score, constituted the judgment of contestants by their physical fitness, lifestyle, poise and confidence. The on-stage question, making up the last 10 percent of the total score, gave the judges the perfect opportunity to ask a current events question. It is evident that O’Neil not only shined, but also prevailed throughout each portion of the competition.

O’Neil is majoring in vocal performance. Originally from Sauquoit, N.Y., the 19-year-old has many plans for her reign as Miss Greater Rochester. She clearly outlined her platform for the competition, “Service to Self – The Importance of Rotary International.” Rotary International is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations and helps build goodwill and peace in the world, according to their Web site.

Her ultimate goal is to inspire and encourage volunteerism in today’s youth by incorporating Rotary International’s motto of “service to self,” starting at a local level.

“I believe it is extremely important for teens to volunteer, and I feel that the Rotary Club is an outstanding organization for teens to model themselves after,” O’Neil said.

In addition to educating and influencing local Rochester Rotary Clubs about her platform, O’Neil is also gearing up to prepare for the Miss New York State Competition. This pageant will take place during July 4th weekend in Watertown, N.Y. She will be under the guidance of Co-founder and President of the Miss Greater Rochester Scholarship Organization Melanie Barnas.

In order to become Miss New York State, O’Neil will compete with other regional winners across the state. If O’Neil wins, she will not only move on to compete in the nationally viewed Miss America pageant, but also win the $10,000 scholarship.

Winning the title of Miss Greater Rochester is an amazing accomplishment for O’Neil. She not only has the chance to represent the greater Rochester community, but also won a $1,250 scholarship prize to help continue funding her education at Eastman.

The pageant is an excellent opportunity for young women between the ages of 17 and 24, to show off their talent and ambition.

“They have the chance to build self-confidence, gain interviewing skills, advocate passionately their platforms and feel rewarded for being well accomplished,” O’Neil concluded.

Buitrago can be reached at jbuitrago@campustimes.org.

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