It's been several years since Trenton was represented on the Miss Missouri Pageant stage.
It’s been several years since Trenton was represented on the Miss Missouri Pageant stage. This week a local Trenton girl is there, not participating as Miss Trenton but in her heart, that is who she is representing. ]Seventeen year old Emily Kasinger is the daughter of Kevin and Jerri Lynn Kasinger of Trenton and is competing along with 24 other young women from across the Show-Me state in the Missouri’s Outstanding Teen Pageant alongside competitors for the Miss Missouri title. Entering the state competition as Miss Pony Express Outstanding Teen, Kasinger says she entered the local preliminary because a dear friend highly recommended it and much to her surprise, she claimed the St. Joseph pageant title on her first attempt. It is the largest scholarship program provided to women across the nation, which is a great opportunity since college choices are quickly approaching. She has been considering John Hopkins University and her end goal is to become a dermatologist. “I’ve already interviewed with representatives of John Hopkins and realize what an awesome institution they are while at the same time, recognizing the expense for such a quality education,” she said. Kasinger currently maintains a 4.0471 GPA and ranks No. 1 in the class of 83. In addition to excelling in the classroom, Kasinger is actively involved in the National Honor Society, Student Council, FFA, and the Key Club. In FFA, she is currently serving as treasurer of the organization, was the chapter reporter and a junior officer, and a freshman delegate, was named the Missouri FFA State Creed Speaking winner and went on to claim 3rd place in the National Creed Speaking competition. She was chosen as one of 100 from the state to attend the HYMAX Academy and a MABA attendee – one of only 30 high school sophomores chosen for this program. She is a member of the Trenton FFA Meats Team that recently captured first place in the state and will compete in Nationals later this year. “Pageantry is also a wonderful opportunity to meet more friends; friendships that I will always have a special connection with,” said Kasinger. Part of the competition for the local, state and national title is talent and Kasinger is no stranger to the stage, having studied dance since the age of 4. “Dance, dance and more dance” is a special hobby of Kasinger and making last-minute preparations for the Mexico competition has been tough as she has spent weeks preparing for a recital in Chillicothe consuming much of her time. For the talent competition, she will perform an innovative pointe dance. Her dance resume’ is equally as impressive noting she has been privileged to attend and study under the direction of the New York City Ballet, including Jenifer Ringer, Tiler Peck, and Daniel Ulbricht. She has earned recognition for dance that has included selection into national finals for nine consecutive years, which she will compete in at the end of this month. The highest honors included 4th place out of 127 dancers and best solo presentation. She was selected into an elite group of dancers known as the Z-Crew at the DanZa competition. She has also received numerous awards for solos, duets, trios and group numbers. For her pageant platform, Kasinger will emphasize “Taking Bullying by the Horns” as her focus during her year. “A victim myself, bullying is a growing problem for people of all ages,” Kasinger said. “Its symptoms are often hard to recognize, but the end result, without seeking help, could lead to more severe problems.” The state pageant began on Monday, June 12, as contestants arrived on the Missouri Military Academy campus in Mexico. Aside from the rehearsals, each representative will meet with a panel of judges for a private interview and then compete in evening wear, talent, and active wear competitions. The naming of the Top 10 and crowning of a new Miss Missouri Outstanding Teen will take place on Friday night, June 16. Kasinger has received special coaching from pageant mentor Steve Maxey who believes she has all of the qualities that judges will be looking for. “Emily is not only smart and talented, she is genuine, humble and a role model for teens,” Maxey said. He says he recognized her potential to compete in this pageant several years ago and was delighted to receive a phone call from her that she was interested in competing this pageant season. “Having been involved in the Miss America program for nearly 50 years, I realized early on that Emily had all of the qualities that the Teen program is looking for in a winner... academic achievements, extensive talent training, the ability to communicate, shares a strong pageant platform and brings tremendous experience on a competitive stage. As a judge of the state teen pageant three years ago, I can say that Emily is well prepared and has the right attitude going into the state competition. She will definitely catch the judges eyes; in a positive way and be seen as a contender, even on the national level.” The selection of an appropriate wardrobe for competition has been time consuming for the Kasinger duo of mother and daughter, but with the support of her Pony Express pageant directors, Tonya Reed of Clifton’s in Chillicothe, and Maxey, who all believe she is ready. “You don’t want her to look like she is competing for Miss America” says Maxey “but a teen contestant who is comfortable in her own skin and an appropriate wardrobe for a 17 year old.” Kasinger will wear a deep blue evening gown for that competition and for the judge’s interview – a tailored, long sleeved white lace dress with fushia accessories. For the talent competition, Emily will perform in a black jeweled dance costume with rhinestoned black pointe shoes. The winner of the Outstanding Teen Pageant will receive a $1,750 scholarship, numerous prizes, and will represent Missouri in the national pageant held in Florida. They will get a year full of appearances and experiences across the entire state of Missouri. Win or lose, Kasinger is entering her first-time state pageant and has the right attitude, Maxey said.