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Gracious Ferrell savors Miss Auburn crown

The crown, the moment reduced Daniela Ferrell to tears.

"I'm just completely overwhelmed. I had no idea," the emotional Auburn woman said after capturing the tiara at the Miss Auburn Scholarship Pageant last Saturday night. "I'm just bubbling with joy. I cannot contain myself.

"I am extremely thankful. I don't think I can express my gratitude enough."

A polished, poised Ferrell rose above strong competition and shined with added inspiration.

With her cancer-stricken father in the audience, Ferrell defeated a talented field of 23 contestants at the Performing Arts Center.

"It's a miracle that he's sitting in the audience," Ferrell said of her father, Jim, who is being treated for a rare cancer. "It's incredible. I can't explain it. A year ago we didn't think he would be here, but he was here tonight watching me."

As Miss Auburn, the 19-year-old Ferrell earned a spot in July's Miss Washington Pageant at Renton. She also won more than $12,000 in total gifts, awards and scholarships.

A classically trained pianist, Ferrell delivered a splendid rendition of Barclay Allen's Latin-esque theme song, "Cumana", during the talent portion of the pageant Friday evening.

She came through with solid showings in interview and wear segments over the course of two nights.

Ferrell, a freshman studying civil engineering at the University of Washington, ran on a platform that hits close to home – cancer support through bone marrow and blood donation. Her father – a retired police officer who spent 31 years on the Auburn force – is being treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Jim Ferrell, who is responding well to a trial drug treatment, ultimately may need a bone marrow transplant.

To help her father's cause, Ferrell orchestrated a large blood and bone marrow drive at Auburn City Hall. The Dec. 23 drive registered 170 donors, the sector's most successful drive in state history, according to Be The Match and the Puget Sound Blood Center.

Jim Ferrell was strong enough to attend the two-night pageant and watch with joy as his daughter took the top prize.

"I'm very pleased. We know what she's made of, and she showed that," said Ferrell, 58, who shared the moment with Elsa, his wife of 30 years.

"I don't have the sense of any great contribution, but somewhere along the way … we had a good, cohesive solid family unit supporting her," he said. "That makes a difference in putting her over the top."

First runner-up a year ago, a more relaxed and ready Daniela Ferrell came determined to win this time around.

"I watched last year's DVD. I knew what I needed to improve on, making myself more personable because sometimes I've become very businesslike," she admitted.

"We knew what it was like going in and, from that point on, it was just a matter of nailing what we already knew," Ferrell said.

Ferrell, under advisor Tammy Thueringer, was sponsored by Molen Orthodontics.

Elisa Rosin, an Auburn Riverside High student, was first runner-up. Auburn's Stefanie Burger, a student at Central Washington University, was second runner-up. Amanda Hainer, a student at Green River Community College, was third-runner-up, followed by Linda Barboa (fourth runner-up) and Jennifer Davis (fifth runner-up).

The pageant, one of the country's largest and most successful programs of its kind, raised $54,528 as of late Monday afternoon in total, awards and scholarships for its contestants.

The pageant board presented a "Local Hero" award of appreciation to the late Dick Kammeyer, a community leader and friend to many, for his support of the program. Kammeyer's family received the plaque on behalf of a man who left an indelible mark on Auburn.

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For more on the Ferrell family story, please read: http://bit.ly/h1WkIe

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