Back in 2002, Karen and Dillman Moree had no clue their newborn baby girl would blossom into a poised, young lady by way of one particular interest.

A shy girl who grew up avoiding speaking to others, transitioned within a few years to a lover of all things on a stage, including music, dance, theatre and public speaking. At the age of nine, “The Pageant World” started calling her name.

Meet Plano local Kendall Moree. She is an eighth grade student at Prince of Peace Christian School (POPCS), who enjoys cheerleading and is a frequent slumber party attendee. A typical pre-teen in most regards, but Kendall is also leaps and bounds beyond her age when it comes to drive, goal setting and accomplishments. After some early success in one pageant system, she decided to switch to another named International Junior Miss Scholarship Program (IJM). It was here Kendall learned the value of self-confidence and self-awareness, which ultimately led to her being crowned the 2015 International Junior Miss Pre-Teen.

The 2015 IJM Pageant featured over 300 contestants from all 50 states, Australia, Canada, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and more. Kendall was crowned alongside five other ladies in different age group categories, including Jr. Princess, Princess, Jr. Teen, Teen and Miss. All participants must be between the ages of four and 24. When asked what the qualifications are in order to compete, Kendall answered, “Enter and show up for the competitions, learn choreography, have fun and be a good sport.” She added, “By the end of the weekend you get to know all of the girls and you’re celebrating no matter what!”

Required competitions for IJM are Formal Wear, Fun Fashion and Interview. A long evening gown is worn for Formal Wear and the girls are judged on confidence, eye-contact and onstage presence. Fun Fashion is when the girls dress in a runway ready outfit that describes their personality. “My outfit was a crop top completely covered in Swarovski crystals with a keyhole in back, cap sleeves, and high waisted shorts that included an overskirt,” Kendall described her Fun Fashion. The final required competition is Interview, which is where the panel of judges interview every girl for a minute, with the exception of Miss’ interviews which are each two minutes. IJM believes in having a more real conversation, unlike other pageants most people are familiar with the ladies answering a single question. They call it “get to know you” interviews, because the judges ask less structured questions.

The International Junior Miss program awards scholarships to individuals on the basis of achievement throughout the competition and their service throughout the year. In addition to winning her title, Kendall won first place in optional categories for Fun Fashion, Best Gown and Best Interview Attire. Kendall received an amazing prize package which includes a cash scholarship, an expense paid international travel experience, a fabulous Royalty Cruise, customized jewelry and clothing, customized travel luggage, clothing certificates and much more.

The highly sought after International title is a reflection of hard work, a commitment of service and giving back to the community, but it has its perks too. The International Junior Miss title has taken Kendall around the country to events like Miss America, the New York City fashion show and a photo shoot in our state capital city of Austin, Texas. Kendall also represented IJM at the opening day Texas State Fair parade along with an October appearance in Paris and London.

As one can see, “The Pageantry World” has been an amazing gift for Kendall. Pageants, and in particular IJM, have many positive features such as a growth in confidence, enhanced outgoing personality and a positive self-image. Kendall has attained much in her youth. It’s exciting to think about what is yet to come for one of Plano’s own.

Colbea Smith

Colbea Smith is a young professional who grew up in Plano and loves the community she will always consider “home”. She is a proud alumna of Texas State University – Go Bobcats! – who spent most...