By day, he is a 6th grade language arts teacher at George Washington Middle School. But at night, Jason Robinson is fervently organizing the details of the first Miss Alexandria Pageant, to be held March 7 at the schools auditorium.
Its been a whirlwind, thats for sure, said the 27-year-old executive director of the pageant. I expressed interest in holding a Miss Alexandria Pageant last year and only got the approval from the Miss Virginia organization a few weeks ago, so its a busy time for me.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Robinson first got interested in pageants while growing up in South Carolina, a state where competing in pageants is practically a profession. But while there are many pageant competitions throughout the country, there is only one that is considered the Super Bowl of pageants: The Miss America Pageant, and that is the path that Robinson and the first Miss Alexandria will take.
The Miss Alexandria Pageant, like Miss America, is a scholarship pageant, Robinson said after finishing his classes for the day and turning to pageant details. The Miss America organization is the largest provider of scholarship money to women in the world and I am proud to be a part of that on the local level.
Robinson, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Arts from Hampton University, will be awarding a $500 scholarship to the new Miss Alexandria. The winner will go on to compete with other young women from around the state for over $40,000 in scholarship money at the Miss Virginia Pageant in June.
I was surprised to learn that there has never been a Miss Alexandria before, said Robinson, who is in his second year of teaching at George Washington. I am so excited to be able to offer this opportunity to young women from our community.
As a preliminary to the Miss Virginia and Miss America pageants, contestants must be between the ages of 17 and 24 and will compete in four phases of competition: interview, swimsuit, talent and evening gown.
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille has been invited to be one of the judges for the inaugural pageant and the reigning Miss Virginia, Tara Wheeler, will act as Mistress of Ceremonies.
A self-described pageant fan, Robinson is also a writer and has published Images of Love, a book of his poetry.
I always loved pageants as a kid, said Robinson, but I am also just a romantic person and love writing.
But his passion for pageants is his priority right now, and Robinson is looking to join with community members and local businesses to obtain sponsorships for the pageant.
Its expensive to stage a pageant, provide scholarships and then properly prepare the winner to compete at the next level, Robinson said. As a public schoolteacher, I just cant do this on my own.
Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Miss Alexandria Pageant, either as a contestant, volunteer or community sponsor, should contact Robinson directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773-220-6240. More information is also available at www.missalexandria.com.
This is an amazing opportunity for the young women of Alexandria, Robinson said as he returned to his pageant planning. You never know. Our first Miss Alexandria just may be the next Miss America.