Warren County High School senior Melanie Grace Rush earned the title of Miss International Dogwood Festival this past weekend in the event held in Tullahoma. By claiming the crown, she will compete in June at the Miss Tennessee pageant held in Jackson.
Rush, 17, competed against 12 other contestants, competing in evening gown, interview, health and fitness and talent categories. Each contestant presents a pageant platform, and Rush’s is Alzheimer’s Awareness. She is a member of the Warren County High School cheerleading squad, and danced for the talent competition. She was crowned by reigning Miss Genevieve Allen.
Rush’s parents are Greg and Susan Rush.
Local beauty Kelsey Lawrence, 16, was named Dogwood Teen Princess in a competition showcasing eight outstanding teens. She is the daughter of David and Dena Upton, and is a student at WCHS. During the competition, Lawrence danced for her talent presentation, and stated Breast Cancer Awareness as her platform.
Her sister, Kaitlin Lawrence, also competed in the Miss Dogwood Festival Pageant.
Both Melanie and Kelsey will participate in upcoming state-level pageants in Jackson. Melanie will be a contestant in the Miss Tennessee event, and Kelsey will compete in Tennessee Teen Princess in March in Jackson.
Coffee County resident Micah Willis was crowned Dogwood Teen in the night of competitions.
Warren County native Alyssa Ledbetter will also be representing her county as Miss Country Sunshine Teen Princess in the same competition. Her parents are Greg and Melanie Ledbetter.
Miss Dogwood Festival pageant is in its second year, and the queens are expected to preside at May’s International Dogwood Festival in Winchester.
The reigning Miss Tennessee Chandler Lawson, who is a native of Tullahoma, served as the mistress of ceremonies during the pageants. She just competed in the Miss America pageant representing Tennessee, earning a place in the prestigious Top 10.