• 39°

Junior Miss
Palmer: Maybe I can win Miss Mississippi'

By Staff
SINGING HER HEART OUT -Virgie Palmer, left, watches her daughter, LeAnn, Lauderdale County's Junior Miss, practice "Hero," the song she will sing in the Mississippi Junior Miss competition next month. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Penny Randall / staff writer
July 7, 2002
As a child, LeAnn Palmer's mother often told her that one day she was going to be Miss America.
Palmer isn't Miss America or even Miss Mississippi. But the Meridian High School senior is Lauderdale County's Junior Miss and, she said, one step closer to her ultimate goal.
Palmer said she likes the Junior Miss program because girls aren't judged solely on beauty. She said the program looks "at your talent, your communication abilities and most of all your scholastic achievements."
Annual Junior Miss Program Chairman Hampton Thames agreed.
Thames believes local programs are the backbone of Mississippi's success at the national program.
New experiences
Since being selected as Lauderdale County's Junior Miss earlier this year, Palmer has become a role model to younger girls.
Palmer, the daughter of Jimmy and Virgie Palmer, is active in Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church. She is listed in Who's who Among American High School Students and the National Honor Society.
Her plans for the future include college at either Ole Miss or Mississippi State, where she will pursue a degree in elementary education with a minor in music.
Palmer hopes her time on stage in the local program will help.
For the talent competition, Palmer will wear an American flag dress and perform the Mariah Carey song "Hero." Palmer also is keeping up with current events by watching Cable News Network.
Palmer has found comfort in advice from last year's Junior Miss winner, Carrie Jones, who has "encouraged me a lot. She told me it's going to stressful, but just be strong."
Her advice for girls wanting to experience Junior Miss: "I would tell them to just be yourself, it's what my mother has always taught me. And stand up for what you believe in."