BRIDGMAN — Just being herself was the secret to success for SarahRose Boughner, who was crowned Miss Bridgman 2018 and also named winner of the Entrepreneur and Peoples Choice Awards during the 81st Miss Bridgman Pageant on Saturday, Dec. 2.
Joining her as the newly crowned Mr. Bridgman 2018 was Jonah Stanage. Both are 17-year-old seniors at Bridgman High School.
In response to her on-stage question as to what was the best advice she had been given, SarahRose credited her mother for telling her to “be confident in who you are and it will take you wherever you want to go.” The newly crowned queen said the confidence she gained during her previous reigns as Miss Teen Bridgman 2014 and second runner-up to Miss Bridgman in 2016 helped her this year.
“I want to make the community proud of me and I look forward to getting to know all these beautiful people in my court,” the new Miss Bridgman said after thanking the judges for selecting her.
Joining SarahRose and Jonah as 2018 Bridgman Blossomtime Royalty are fellow Bridgman High School students Emma Wimbush (First Runner-up), Second Runner-up Amber Smith, and Miss Congeniality Lauren Keller.
Also participating were contestants Jada Sheriff and Morgan McGhee.
In keeping with the Blossomtime Pageant theme of Roll Out the Red Carpet, the Bridgman carpet was laid on a Weko Beach setting, complete with an enactment of the city’s long-standing tradition of a bugle sounding “Taps” at sunset. This was followed by all the contestants joining in a lively song and dance routine to “Surfin’ USA.” Furthering the city’s image as a fun-filled lakeside community, Jonah described the city as “Friendly,” in his one-word response to his on-stage pageant question.
The new Miss Bridgman is the middle of Paul and Deborah Boughner’s seven daughters. Winner of the Entrepreneur Award is fitting since SarahRose’s goal is to return to Bridgman to open a coffee shop or bakery after studying business and entrepreneurship at Grand Valley State University. Backstage, the judges said they were impressed by the 17-year-old’s sincerity and strong interview.
SarahRose’s school activities include softball team captain, secretary of both her senior class and DECA chapter, a volleyball team member and cheerleader. An honor roll student, she was recognized as outstanding choir student, winner of the Girl Scouts Silver Award, placed first in district and state DECA contests and was a finalist for DECA Internationals. She received an honor cadet award in the U.S. Navy Sea Cadet Corps and volunteers packing boxes for soldiers with Blue Star Mothers and at local food banks. She is a member of Girls on the Run and Red Bud Ministries.
Jonah is the 17-year-old son of Dalton and Mollie Stanage. He described himself as hardworking, disciplined and persistent as demonstrated by being a four-year honor roll student with varsity letters in football, track and academics. He is a member of Berrien County Early/Middle College Program, captain of the football team, member of DECA and runs track and field. Jonah plans to earn an associate’s degree at Lake Michigan College before pursuing a degree in physical therapy at Grand Valley State University. He also has the goal of competing in Reebok Crossfit Games.
Emma, 17, is the daughter of Aaron and Deb Wimbush. She plans to attend Southwest Michigan College. She is an honor roll student, a district and state winner at DECA contests and a DECA Internationals contestant and holds varsity letters in cheerleading and academics. Emma volunteers as a PTO babysitter, Little Bees Cheer Camp, Building Bridgman and Bridgman Library Halloween and helps with children at her church.
Amber, 17, is the daughter of Mike Smith. An honor roll junior, she holds a junior varsity letter in basketball and was named most enthusiastic player. She also earned a varsity letter in tennis and an academic excellence award letter. Amber plans to attend Central Michigan University to study music business with the goal of becoming a musician and performer.
Chosen by her fellow contestants as Miss Congeniality, Lauren is the 18-year-old daughter of Paul and Karen Keller. She is a member of the volleyball, basketball, track and competitive cheer teams and also is a member of the award-winning band color guard and a state DECA finalist. Lauren plans to attend college and major in athletic training and minor in coaching while playing college volleyball or basketball. She is a volunteer with the Key Club, Niles Haunted House, Niles Elite and the Interact Club.
Opening the ceremony with the “National Anthem” was Miss Bridgman 2014 Megan Hildebrandt, now a senior at Western Michigan University, who also served as emcee with Wild Bill Lewis, afternoon radio personality at WIN 98.5 in Battle Creek/Kalamazoo. Producing the evening for the Miss Bridgman Scholarship Committee was Tamra Preston.
Miss Bridgman 2017 McKenna Smith, now a student at Calvin College where she majors in business and chemistry with the goal of becoming a dentist, recalled her “life changing year” with pictures and recorded comments. She added her thanks to the local businesses that sponsor the pageant and the Miss Bridgman Scholarship Committee for making possible all the volunteer experiences and events that led to an unforgettable year for herself and all the members of her court. The entire 2017 Bridgman Royal Court watched from the stage as the audience enjoyed a videotaped song and dance revue of the highlights of their reign.