2018 Miss Raymond, Jr. Miss Raymond and Little Miss Raymond

Lizzie Wolcott Wins 2018 Miss Raymond Title
By Penny Williams    7-09-18

The oppressive heat did little to dull the enthusiasm and excitement of the eight candidates for the 2018 Miss Raymond title, with the crown going to Elizabeth “Lizzie” Wolcott, 16, who was last year's first runner-up.

2018 Miss Raymond Elizabeth Wolcott


Third runner-up for Miss Raymond 2018 was Kathryn Doucette; second runner-up was Maggie Paris; and first runner-up was Aileen Auclair. The People's Choice Award went to Dacey Owen and the Miss Congeniality Award went to Maggie Paris.

Kathryn Doucette and Maggie Paris


First Runner Up Aileen Auclair with 2017 Sheridon DiLeo


Other candidates for the title were Junior Miss Raymond 2017 Aurora Paci-Burghardt and two other 2017 Junior Miss Raymond contestants, Paige Rivera and Gabrielle Powell,

As winner of the Miss Raymond title, Wolcott, a rising senior at Raymond High School, receives a scholarship award of $1,000; Auclair receives a $300 scholarship; Paris a $200 scholarship and Doucette a $100 scholarship. Heading up the scholarship is Director Christina Vogel, who also is in charge of advertising and publicity for the pageant.

Miss Raymond 2017 Sheridan DiLeo, who swept the People's Choice, Most Congenial and Miss Raymond titles last year as well, completed her year's duties with a flourish, making the point several times that this had been a year to remember, one that gave her a chance to discover and attain self confidence.

The contestants all performed an opening number choreographed by Pageant Director and Master of Ceremonies Emily Finnegan, who held the 2016 Miss Raymond title. That was followed by the on-stage question competition.

An off-stage question interview was also held individually with each candidate by the judges, who included: Marci Collins, an Auburn stylist who competed for Miss Raymond in 1989-90; Tara Chaney, who was the 1993 Miss Raymond; Kayla Caron, who was a Miss Raymond runner-up in the 2010-2011 contest; Greg Sevinsky, a 29-year Walmart employee who has worked at the Raymond Distribution Center for the last 19 years; and Jennifer DeFelice, owner and creative director of the Broadway Bound Performing Arts Center in Merrimack.

DiLeo chatted with Finnegan while the contestants changed into their "Appearance Wear" - an outfit they chose that suited their interests. She said she would be forever grateful for all the friendships she has made during her reign, and spoke lovingly about her "sisters" - Junior Miss Raymond Aurora Paci-Burghardt and Little Miss Raymond Billie Reynolds - whose support and friendship have grown through the year.

"They are like my family now," she said.

Her advice to the new Miss Raymond was to make it a “Yes Year,” a time to experience all the potential opportunities that come along, each important in its own way.

The talent portion of the pageant saw Aurora playing drums; Paige singing “All I Ask;” Gabrielle performing a lyrical dance; Kathryn playing a Beethoven piece on flute; Maggie singing “Over the Rainbow” a cappella; Aileen performing a ballet dance; Dacey singing “A Little Too Much” and Lizzie playing a Mozart piece on the piano. Their performances were followed by Sheridan singing  “Never Enough,” her final performance as Miss Raymond 2017.

After an abbreviated intermission in a concession to the heat, Phoebe Collins. the chairman of the judges and the 2018 Miss Rockingham County Outstanding Teen for 2018, sang. Members of the Raymond Fire Department then escorted the contestants in their evening wear.

Raymond Fire Lieutenant Raymond Bushey lll escorted Aurora and Aileen; Firefighter Brian Dion escorted Paige and Dacey; Firefighter Kerry Pratt escorted Gabrielle; Fire Chief Paul Hammond escorted Kathryn and Lizzie; and Fire Lieutenant Rich Nunziato escorted Maggie.

Firemen Escorts Kerry Pratt, Lieutenant Raymond Bushey III, Chief Paul Hammond, Rich Nunziato and Brian Dion


Raffle winners were announced, and Lorrie O'Conner received a plaque for her years as an auditor for the event. Finnegan announced that Sandra Ellis received a plaque as well, but Ellis was not present.

Finnegan also spoke with Makenna Brackett, a contestant for the Junior Miss Raymond title, whose pageant will be held on Saturday, July 7 at 1 p.m. Makenna had won the ticket at the Princess Tea Party to visit backstage as the Miss Raymond contestants prepared for the pageant.

DiLeo then gave her farewell speech, and with Junior Miss Raymond Aurora Paci-Burghardt and Little Miss Raymond Billie Reynolds, watched a slide show depicting the many activities and events in which they had participated during the year. And then it was time for what everyone was waiting for, crowning of the 2018 Miss Raymond.

The duties for the new Miss Raymond begin at Town Fair on Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8. Wolcott will ride in a fire truck to lead the parade. Junior and Little Miss Raymond 2018 will be selected Saturday afternoon, July 7.

All eight 2018 Miss Raymond Contestants
with 2017 Miss Raymond Sheridan DiLeo



Frankie DiLeo Crowned Jr. Miss Raymond 2018 and Gina Blomster Crowned Little Miss Raymond 2018
By Penny William    7-9-18

Frankie DiLeo, 11, won the Junior Miss Raymond 2018 title July 7, the Saturday afternoon of Town Fair, and Gina Blomster was crowned Little Miss Raymond 2018.

Jr. Miss Raymond Frankie DiLeo


The Junior Miss Raymond pageant attracted nine contestants ranging in age from 10 to 13. Lara Finnegan and Olivia Arpin had been part of the pageant before, while others were related to former pageant winners. Lara’s older sister is Emily Finnegan, 2016 Miss Raymond, and Frankie’s older sister is Sheridan DiLeo, Miss Raymond 2017. The other contestants were Madison Ambrose, Claire Michalak, Makenna Brackett, Beka McGill, Gia Beckford and Peyton Hartien.

The Little Miss Raymond pageant had four contestants, all second graders  - Gina Blomster, Grace Campbell, Danica Stuchell and Laila Merrill.

The pageant opened with 2017 Miss Raymond Sheridan DiLeo singing the National Anthem and 2017 Junior Miss Raymond Aurora Paci-Burghardt signing it. The opening number followed, with the nine contestants joined by Aurora in a number choreographed by Emily Finnegan. Each contestant and the judges for the Junior Miss Raymond pageant - Suzanne Diamond, Sara Westmoreland, Nicole Westmoreland, and Richelle Hickok – were introduced. Judges’ Auditor was Lorrie O'Connor and Judges’ Chairperson was Anya Vogel.

Aurora spoke glowingly about her year as Junior Miss Raymond, calling it "amazing.” Her favorite event, she said, was the Princess Tea Party. Looking back a year to when she was crowned Junior Miss Raymond, she admitted she had been "overwhelmed" and said she had never expected to win. She said that while it was a hectic year, it allowed her to meet many people, take part in many events, and find herself growing in confidence and speaking skills. Her advice to the incoming Junior Miss Raymond was simple - "Say yes to everything and take it all in - it goes by very fast."

The nine Junior Miss Raymond contestants were presented to the audience and the judges in outfits they had chosen, each getting to walk the runway and show off her appearance. This was followed by an appearance by newly crowned Miss Raymond 2018 Lizzie Wolcott, who told the audience that she felt "very blessed" to have been chosen and was having fun in her new role, having already led the Firemen's Parade from her seat in a 1988 fire truck driven by Fire Chief Paul Hammond.

The young contestants then presented their talent, with Madison singing “Butterfly Fly Away,” Claire doing a jump rope routine, Makenna doing a gymnastic routine, Beka singing “I'd Rather Be Happy,” Lara doing a baton twirling routine, Gia doing a jump rope routine, Olivia playing the clarinet, Frankie doing a dance routine, and Payton singing “Part of Your World.”

Following intermission Madeline Downer, representing Ameri-Kids, presented a baton routine, and then it was time for the contestants to show off their semi-formal wear and to each to answer a question from DiLeo.

Aurora played the drums for her final performance as Junior Miss Raymond, Lizzie Wolcott played the piano, and House Manager Doug Vogel and Billie Reynolds, Little Miss Raymond 2017, gave out raffle gifts. A slide show of Aurora’s reign was presented as well.

The Little Miss Raymond judges, Tammy Reardon, Vanessa Onessimo, and Samantha Desrochers, handed in their decision, and Tayler DiLeo announced Gina Blomster as the winner.

Little Miss Raymond Gina Blomster


Moving on to Junior Miss Raymond, DiLeo announced that the People's Choice Award went to Frankie DiLeo and the Miss Congeniality Award went to Payton Hartien. Third runner-up was Payton Hartien; the second runner-up was Lara Finnegan; and, the first runner-up was Gia Beckford, with Frankie DiLeo the winner.

With her arms filled with flowers and her trophy and wearing her crown and sash, Frankie took her first walk as Junior Miss Raymond to the applause of the standing audience.

As Junior Miss Raymond, Frankie received a $300 scholarship; the first runner-up received $200, second runner-up $100, and third runner-up $50. The money for the scholarships given at the Miss Raymond and Junior Miss Raymond pageants is raised by the Princess Tea Party and Teddy Bear Picnic and other events, and from donations from businesses and individuals in Raymond. The fundraisers, donations and sponsorship contributions pay for the scholarships and all costs associated with the pageants.

The pageant is sponsored by the Miss Raymond Scholarship Program, which is directed by Christina Vogel.

All photos taken by Cheryl Killam.

More photos of both pageants can be seen in the 2018 Miss Raymond, Jr Miss and Little Miss Raymond Pageant Facebook Album .




















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