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By Jim Kundreskas

 Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron (center) of Spotsylvania County waits with other finalists onstage in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas last week. She came home with the crown.
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Date published: 2/6/2010

CONGRATULATIONS to Miss Virginia, Caressa Cameron, who now is more properly addressed as Miss America.

This graduate of Massaponax High School is the local girl who certainly made good.

It was just so enchanting to read the many stories in our newspaper about Cameron. We learned how she and her family prepared everything before leaving for Las Vegas to how each member of the family felt the moment she was crowned Miss America. It was almost like Free Lance-Star readers were backstage and behind the scenes ourselves.

I can't be alone in finding this story interesting and incredibly refreshing. Then, watching the main event unfold on television last Saturday night and cheering on Miss Virginia to that storybook ending when she won was just so very exciting and euphoric.

If they give out Pulitzers for great ideas, such as having our own reporter and photographer cover this affair so closely, then there is surely a nomination coming.

Wow; thousands of local readers have to feel exactly like I do, enjoying this story so very much from beginning to end.

I've never met Miss Cameron or her family to my knowledge, but they must all be some very special people.


When I lived in Maryland, for maybe a dozen years, the local Jaycees asked me to be a judge every year at their annual Junior Miss Contest.

To be sure, I was honored. But I also remember the whole experience was a great deal of work.

I recall many of those charming young ladies I judged over the years, and how very special the small handful of them were that stood out from the crowd and put on the crown at the end of the night.

All the girls that entered that contest were exceptional high school seniors, but the winners over the years were all extraordinary.

To win the Miss America contest has to multiply all those factors by a couple thousand.

Indeed, I'll bet Caressa Cameron's family is mighty proud.

And if anyone out there might believe our Miss Virginia was just lucky and it was pure chance that she won; well, you're wrong with thinking like that.

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BEAUTIES ON THE BOARDWALK: The Miss America pageant began as a beauty contest in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1921. It has evolved today into far more than that, and awards millions of dollars in cash and scholarships every year. The pageant moved to Las Vegas in 2006. America's Junior Miss was founded in 1958. Its home is in Mobile, Ala. Over the years, more than 700,000 high school seniors have participated.