Ryann Richardson of Bowie has been named Miss Maryland Junior Teen for 2005. The 16-year-old Elizabeth Seton High School junior was chosen from among 30 young woman in the summer as winner of the statewide pageant, a contest of poise, appearance and personality.

"It's kind of surreal," Richardson said. "I would think of Miss Maryland in the past and think that's so amazing, so beautiful and wonderful."

She will represent the state in the National Miss American Junior Teen Pageant next week at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Winning the crown fits well into Richardson's plan for her future. The daughter of Al and Janelle Richardson, she hopes to study fashion design and business at Syracuse University in New York. She would like to work in the fashion industry. "Even at age 10, I had books of sketches," Richardson said. "I was terrible at the time, but I always loved it."

These days, when she's not in gospel or concert choir practice at school, or liturgical dance rehearsal at Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Forestville, Richardson is practicing her runway walk at the Barbizon Modeling Center. That's where she learned about the Miss American Junior Teen Pageant. A previous pageant winner paid a visit to one of Richardson's classes and told the students about Miss Maryland Junior Teen. With some encouragement from those around her, Richardson decided to apply after the speech.

Richardson isn't entirely new to pageant life. Last December, she competed in the Miss Maryland American Teen USA pageant with 200 other girls. "I didn't win, but I took it as a learning experience and moved on," she said.

"I wasn't intimidated," Richardson said of the Miss Maryland Junior Teen competition. "I came in with the attitude that I'm going to do my best; I'm not going to worry about what everyone else does."

With her new title comes duties. After winning her crown, she met with Maryland Gov. Robert L. Erlich (R) and posed for photos at the State House in Annapolis. She is also required to perform community service hours.

Rachele M. Gaines, Carol Gaines and Stephanie Frye, members of the Zonta Club of Prince George's County, accepted the Zonta International District 3 Lieutenant Governor's Award on behalf of the local chapter. Zonta International is a service organization made up of professional executives that work together to advance the status of women. Zonta's Prince George's chapter received the Lieutenant Governor's Award for increasing its membership, hosting the Taste of Prince George's County event and for raising funds for the Family Crisis Center Inc. of Prince George's County.

Juan Diasgranados, a sophomore at High Point High School in Beltsville, has been named this year's Most Gorgeous Youth in Prince George's County. The honor recognizes young county residents who help enhance the quality of life in Prince George's. County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) named Diasgranados to the position for his completion of 300 hours of community service at area schools, companies and the Beltsville Community Center in the past three years.

Jose Emilio Pacheco, a poet, narrator and professor at the University of Maryland in College Park, has won the 2005 Granada International Poetry Prize. He was among 30 poets from Spain and Latin America considered for the prize. Pacheco lives with his family in Mexico City and teaches two graduate courses in the spring at Maryland. The prize includes a $60,000 award, an honorary diploma and a replica of a sculpture by artist Miguel Moreno. Pacheco has received other literary awards, including the Pablo Neruda Ibero American Poetry Prize, the Alfonso Reyes Prize, the Octavio Paz Poetry Award, the Jose Donoso Prize, the Premio Jose Asuncion Silva and the Mexican National Poetry Prize.

-- Compiled by


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