Sabo captures Miss Auburn crown; Arthur takes teen title
By MARK KLAAS
Auburn Reporter Regional Editor
February 8, 2012 · Updated 5:59 PM
Tera Sabo considered herself a contestant, not a contender.
A year removed from her first experience at the Miss Auburn Scholarship Pageant pageant, the 18-year-old from Maple Valley returned a wiser, more composed young woman to confront the bright lights of the Performing Arts Center stage.
What Sabo didn't expect was soaring to the top of a talented field of 21 other women Saturday night, capturing the crown and more than $10,000 in gifts, awards and scholarships.
"I was completely shocked. I didn't think I was even going to place," Sabo said as family, friends and officials congratulated her following the coronation. "This year I had a lot more confidence in myself. I was true to myself and knowing I'm worthy of being on the stage."
Poised and relaxed, Sabo was ready for the challenge of an intense, two-night journey of competition. For taking the tiara, she earns the honor of representing Auburn for a year and automatically qualifies for the Miss Washington Pageant in July. The Miss Auburn program, sponsored by the Auburn Noon Lions Club, is an official preliminary to the Miss Washington and Miss America Scholarship pageants.
Celebrating its 50th year, the Miss Auburn showcase generated more than $58,000 in gifts, awards and scholarships for its contestants, continuing its standing as one of the largest and most successful local pageants in the country.
Auburn's Salina Ellison was first-runner-up and Stefanie Burger second runner-up, followed by Hannah Woods (third runner-up), Jessica Justice (fourth) and Gabrielle Bonner (fifth).
Sabo scored high in each of the pageant's five phases of competition – talent (35 percent of the total score), private interview (25 percent), eveningwear (20 percent), lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit (15 percent) and on-stage interview (5 percent).
A classically trained pianist, Sabo performed her favorite piece – Melody Bober's majestic solo, "Midnight Rhapsody".
Sabo, a Tahoma High School graduate, completes her associate degree in business at Green River Community College through the Running Start program this spring. An honors student, she plans to study business administration at Seattle Pacific University this fall. She would like to obtain an MBA with an emphasis in social enterprise and a minor in global and urban ministries.
Sabo aspires to lead and help – at her church and in the community.
She ultimately would like to become associated with a nonprofit organization and "travel around the world and help people."
Active in her church, she is a youth group leader and mentor. She competed on the platform in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she is waiting to be matched with a "Little Sister" in the mentoring program.
She has organized fundraisers for mission teams; helped build a house on a Mexico mission trip for a family in need in 2009 and served an impoverished community on a mission trip to Westwood, Calif., last August.
In addition, she organized community blood drives and initiated and organized a clothing drive for poverty-stricken families.
Sabo stays physically active. A high school varsity swimmer, she established a bi-monthly hiking club and has achieved 9 of 15 taekwondo belts in a six-year commitment with the sport.
Sabo, daughter of Gary and Kristi Sabo, was sponsored by Columbia Bank. Caialani Patin and Mackenzie Cook were her Little Sisters.
In victory, she was gracious and humble.
"It means a great deal to me. I just can't believe that it actually happened. I'm so thankful that God chose me to be in this place right now."
Arthur takes teen title
Auburn's Allison Arthur (bottom photo) won the Miss Auburn Outstanding Teen Pageant held Saturday afternoon at the PAC.
Arthur, a junior at Jefferson High School, topped a field of 11 other contestants. She qualifies for the Miss Washington Teen Pageant in March.
"I wasn't expecting it," said Arthur, 17. "I don't know how to feel, but now I feel pretty excited. I felt I did my best."
Arthur, daughter of Brian and Ladonna Arthur, performed a jazz dance to the music of "Piece Of My Heart".
An exceptional student, Arthur's platform issue is preventing Alzheimer's through mental and physical activity, an issue that strikes close to home with the disease running in her family.
Cami Werden was first runner-up, followed by Alyssa Schnell (second runner-up) and Georgia Riffle (third).
The pageant raised about $6,500 in donations for the Auburn Food Bank. ... Many of the past winners of the pageant appeared and were honored on stage. ... Longtime voice of the pageant, John Lynch, returned for the golden anniversary show.
Contact Auburn Reporter Regional Editor Mark Klaas at email@example.com or 1-253-833-0218 (ext 5050).