CHAZY It was the first time Bianca Grimshaw ever participated in a pageant, and its something shes looking forward to doing again. I thought it was an amazing experience, said Bianca. I met so many girls who have done so many good things and they taught me so much. Bianca was one of several girls chosen from across the state to compete in the Miss Teen of New York Scholarship and Recognition Program pageant, held at Union College in Schenectady Aug. 8-10. The 14-year-old was contacted by the program earlier this year through her school, Northeastern Clinton Central School, where she was then an eighth-grader. When first hearing of the pageant, Biancas mother, Teresa, said her initial instinct was not to allow her to participate. Im not a pageant mother, but she wanted to enter so I made a few phone calls and looked into it, said Teresa. Once I learned their focus is on giving girls confidence and that everyones a winner, I felt comfortable with having her enter. According to its Web site, the Miss Teen of America program, which oversees the Miss Teen of New York pageant, was founded in Minneapolis, Minn., in 1983. The program is meant to accent the positive qualities among today's youth and to foster and promote worthwhile ideals. Candidates are judged on the basis of five categories: service and achievement to school and community, personal development, scholastic achievement, judge's interview, and poise and personality projection in formal wear. While Bianca didnt take home the gold, she did receive two awards an Outstanding Achievement Award for her age category, and the Miss Photogenic Award. Regardless of the awards, being part of a program that went beyond judging a contestant on looks is what made her most proud, said Bianca. I like the fact it didnt focus on beauty, she said. It was more about achievements and academics and helping your community. Bianca already has experience in being an active part of her community, said her mother. She regularly referees local sporting events and is a member of the junior volunteer program at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh. She has also served as president of her class for the past four years all while maintaining her placement on the schools honor roll. Shes a very giving individual and she is a leader, Teresa said of her daughter. She is a girl who makes the extra effort to get involved and make a difference. The overall experience of participating in the pageant was one Bianca said shed be willing to do again when the event is next held in 2010. If she succeeds there, she would go on to the Miss Teen of America pageant where she would compete with other girls from across the nation for the national title. Hopefully, Ill be able to do it, now that I know what to expect, Bianca said of winning the state title. Bianca thanked her sponsors for helping make it possible for her to participate in the pageant. Her sponsors included Anachemia Chemicals, Chauvin Agency, and Kavanaugh Realty, all of Rouses Point; Northern Sanitation, Plattsburgh; and Kenny's Saltwater Taffy, Onset, Mass. In addition to Bianca Grimshaw, 16-year-old Erica Rayome of Mooers Forks participated in the pageant. Although she did not place in the competition, a spokesperson for Miss Teen of America said her scores indicated she was a strong candidate with a good academic record and a fine representative of Clinton County.