Marines assist Miss America reception
Marines from the Military District of Washington assist during the Miss America reception.

The Embassy of Croatia and the Miss District of Columbia Scholarship Organization held a reception honoring Miss America 2011, Teresa Scanlan, March 28.

The event celebrated Miss America's Croatian heritage and included the top 12 contestants from the Miss America pageant.

Among the special guests invited were several Marines from the National Capital Region.

Sonya Gavankar, former Miss D.C. 1997, and Miss Teri Galvez, the executive director of the Miss D.C. Scholarship Organization, enjoy inviting servicemembers to demonstrate the philanthropy of the organization as well as giving servicemembers the opportunity to attend an exclusive event.

In addition to having servicemembers escort the contestants at the D.C. competition, they regularly use military officers to train the winner in oral presentation skills.

''The Croatian food was awesome and free and I'm surprised how nice and accommodating everyone was at such a VIP type event," said Sgt. Nelson Blanco from Headquarters and Service Company, Henderson Hall.

The mission of the Miss D.C. Scholarship Organization is to provide scholarships to women between the ages of 17-24 as well as give them a platform to speak on a social cause they believe in.

''It's amazing what they do for us, and they look so good in their uniforms," said one state pageant representative of the servicemembers.

''I think the stage can be frightening."

''I can't imagine some of the pressures they face overseas."

The next pageant event will be the Miss D.C. pageant on July 10 at Arena Stage.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16