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Crowning moment: Lindsay Tosch savors Miss Auburn crown
There might have been clear favorites in past Miss Auburn Scholarship Pageants, but this year's chase for the crown was plainly different.
A deep field of talented contestants made the task of selecting the winner even more difficult for the scrupulous six-judge panel.
When all the scores were tabulated after two late nights of intense competition, 19-year-old Lindsay Tosch stood alone as the new Miss Auburn.
Confident about her chances, Tosch was gratified to prevail against 21 other contestants last Friday night in front of a full house at the Auburn Performing Arts Center.
"I feel very, very honored to have been selected at this position above everyone else," said Tosch, who received the tiara, a silver platter and $12,000 in total gifts, awards and scholarships from the pageant program, regarded as the largest and most successful of its kind in the country. "I mean, it's a shock."
Tosch also qualified for this year's Miss Washington Pageant.
Hayley Louise McJunkin was first runner-up, followed by Daniela Ferrell (second runner-up), Anne Partridge (third runner-up), Kalie Krueger (fourth runner-up) and Stefanie Burger (fifth runner-up).
Tosch, a bright and gifted young woman who was born and raised in Auburn, wasn't sure where she stood in the wide-open field.
"It was hard to say," she said. "The talent (portion of the competition) was my strong point out of everything. It didn't make me nervous. But the talent this year was absolutely wonderful. It was neck and neck with everybody, as well as the interviews.
"Everybody had their favorites, everybody had their loudest screams, everybody had absolute wonderful support from family members and friends. And that's what you need in this program," Tosch said.
In addition to talent, contestants were judged on lifestyle/fitness wear, evening wear, interview and onstage question.
Tosch, an accomplished soprano vocalist with many years of training and onstage experience, wowed the audience last Thursday night with her solo of "Think of Me" from Phantom of the Opera.
Tosch, who has been involved in choir since the third grade, has taken 3 1/2 years of private voice lessons. Her goal is to learn the opera technique. She has a newfound love for jazz.
She has other goals.
Tosch, an 2009 Auburn High School graduate and freshman at Green River Community College, intends to transfer to either Pacific Lutheran University or the University of Washington and study architecture.
She would like to specialize in the interior design of large buildings such as hotels. One day she hopes to own her own architecture firm and place a brand name on her projects.
Her ultimate goal, which stems from a childhood dream, is to design a theme hotel in Las Vegas.
"You don't expect the things that you see in a hotel in Las Vegas," Tosch said. "You're walking around on a busy street. and yet you walk into a rainforest, you walk into a jungle, and that absolutely intrigues me. I want to create that, I want to create that shock and awe when people walk in."
For the past 10 years, Tosch has owned her own business, Lindsay's Hot Bandits, a small hotdog stand she operates during fairs and special events.
"It's a side job, but it's also a passion of mine," she added.
Last Friday, Tosch was all business. She emerged as a gracious winner.
"Pure happiness," she said of taking the crown. "It wasn't shock, it wasn't tears. It was happiness.
"It's unbelievable," Tosch said while accepting congratulations from family and friends. "It's an honor, it's an honor to have been chosen as a representative for Auburn, and I hope to do it as best as I possibly can.
"The hard work paid off."
Tosch competed on a platform issue that promoted Internet safety and awareness for children. She was sponsored by Northwestern Financial Services, Corp. Debbie Matejka served as her advisor.
An exceptional student, Tosch enjoys volunteering and travel. She has visited many countries.
Tosch says her parents, Paul and Stacey Tosch, have been the greatest influences in her life.
"They have helped me every step of the way," she said. "And I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for them."
Devanni Partridge, former Miss Auburn and reigning Miss Washington, returned to APAC as part of the program, a week removed from competing in the Miss Auburn Pageant in Las Vegas, Nev. "It was a wonderful experience … I'm just thankful to have been on that stage," said Partridge, only the second woman from Auburn to win the state crown and compete for Miss America. "I built some incredible relationships." … The two-night pageant program donated $6,000 to the Auburn Food Bank. … At the time of the finals, an estimated $12,000 was raised online toward the scholarship funds for the contestants. … Outgoing Miss Auburn Allie Wallace performed a Middle Eastern-Greek dance and later thanked the pageant board and the many volunteers for their work and support. Wallace, who graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a degree in economics, currently works for a downtown Seattle law firm. She would like to pursue more outreach work for a nonprofit organization. … The pageant, sponsored by the Auburn Noon Lions, was produced by Jamee Mahmood and Jim Kleinbeck.