On Thursday, Oct. 4, the Teen Miss Cherokee Pageant was held at the 100th Annual Cherokee Indian Fair. There were six contestants running for this royalty including: Bradley Welch and Taylor Wilnoty from Cherokee High School; Whitney West from Cherokee Middle School; and Amy West, Kaniah James, and Adelia Crowe from Swain County High School.
The pageant was held at 6p.m. All the girls introduced themselves, talked about their chosen topic, and performed a special talent they had chosen. One of the highlights of the pageant was the traditional attire worn by the contestants. After the contestants spoke about their chosen topic, judges announced the winners. The 2nd runner up went to Adelia Crowe from Swain, and the two contestants from Cherokee High School secured the top two spots. The 1st runner up went to Taylor Wilnoty, and Bradley Welch was chosen as the new Teen Miss Cherokee.
Welch is the 17 year old daughter of Heather and Brent Younce and Jake Welch. She is currently a senior at Cherokee High School. Cherokee High School newspaper staff recently interviewed Bradley to get her thoughts on why she wanted to run and how she felt about becoming the new Teen Miss Cherokee.
When asked how it feels to be an ambassador of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, she responded, “Really exciting! I’m still in shock and unable to put my feelings into words. It is a huge honor for me to go out and represent our tribe.”
She decided to run for Teen Miss Cherokee in order to be a good role model for the younger girls on the boundary and to teach them “it’s okay to be yourself.”
When asked what she is looking forward to and what she hopes to learn from this experience, Welch responded, “I cannot wait for the Historic Williamsburg trip, or the Washington D.C. trip as well; and I hope to learn more about my tribe.” She hopes to learn more about her people from this experience. She hopes to make her people and school proud by “educating others about our tribe” and helping.
According to Welch, success is “reaching your goals, even if it is small goals.” She believes she has experienced success because she has reached some of her personal goals already.
One of her goals after high school includes admittance to medical school. “Another goal would be to learn the [Cherokee] language and help teach it.”
– Cherokee Central Schools