Miss Winnipesaukee Scholarship Program
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Originally published in the Weirs Times. Written by Roger Amsden/News Correspondent

Emily Huges as Mis NH
Gilford - An honors graduate from the University of New Hampshire was crowned as the 81st Miss Winnipesaukee Saturday night at the Gunstock Ski Area.

Emily Hughes, 22, of Gilmanton, who will return to UNH this fall to work on her master's degree in early childhood education, won a $10,000 scholarship in the site's oldest pageant. The recipient of the 2003 Meg Geraghty Community Service Award, Hughes has been active in charity fund-raising. Her talent performance was a tap dance.

It was the fifth straight year that the 2001 Gilford High School graduate has won a pageant to qualify as a Miss New Hampshire contestant. She won the Miss Lakes Region title in 2001 and followed that up by winning Miss Bedford, Miss Capital Area and Miss Stratham titles.

Hughes was crowned by the reigning Miss Winnipesaukee, Justine Barker of Pembroke, who is also a 2006 Miss New Hampshire finalist by virtue of winning the Miss Seacoast title earlier this year. Also on hand for the crowning was Miss New Hampshire, Audra Paquette of Merrimack, a 24-year-old graduate of Syracuse University who is herself a former Miss Winnipesaukee, having won that crown in 1998.

First runner-up, and winner of a $4,000 scholarship, was Christy Dunn, 22, of Laconia, a UNH graduate who aims to earn a master's degree in business management. She will be auditioning for the Radio City Rockettes in August.

Second runner-up and winner of a $3,000 scholarship was Kyle Polichronopoulos of Nashua, 23, a Springfield College graduate who is working to earn a doctorate in psychology. She is a member of the Manchester Lady Wolves dance team.

Third runner-up and winner of a $1,900 scholarship was Melissa DeGroot, 20, of Gilford, a student at Plymouth State University where she is majoring in psychology and dance. The Miss Winnipesaukee Pageant, which was started by legendary promoter Jim Irwin, was first held in 1925 at Irwin's Winnipesaukee Gardens at Weirs Beach and con-tinued there until 1968. The pageant has been sponsored by the Funspot Family Entertainment Center since 1969.