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Blackhawk senior competes at Miss Spokane


Last updated 2/27/2020 at 5:15pm

SPOKANE – When Julianne Mewhinney saw the Facebook ad for the 2020 Miss Spokane competition, she viewed it as an opportunity to talk about her volunteering focus to a larger audience.

The Cheney High School senior competed with 15 other area women for the title Feb. 15-16 at Shadle Park High School, undergoing an extensive interview session on Saturday followed by Sunday’s pageant where the winner, 21-year-old Gabby Dansereau, was announced. Miss Spokane is the first step in the Miss America competition, with Dansereau vying for Miss Washington this summer.

Mewhinney, who was a member of the Blackhawks cheer squad this year, said she has spent much of her young life volunteering with those who have mental and physical disabilities, including a family member and close friend. Entering the annual contest, where participants are able to win scholarship money, gave her an opportunity to talk about her volunteer experiences and those she helped through her platform “Pairing special needs in the community.”

Mewhinney said she wanted to create awareness about the value and capabilities those with special needs have for the community. It’s something she experiences daily by volunteering with the high school special needs class, helping them work on skills and tasks around the school.

“You’re there for them, you help them and you lift them up,” she said.

Contestants were also scored on evening wear, a social impact statement, an onstage interview and a talent competition, with Mewhinney doing a monologue based on her volunteering platform. According to the organization’s website, the swimsuit competition was eliminated this year.

Miss Spokane contestants also vie for over $6,700 in prize money, mostly scholarships. Mewhinney said she talked about her goal of getting into Eastern Washington University’s nursing program during her Saturday interview, and because of that was awarded a $250 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) scholarship.

“We are very proud of our little girl, who is not so little anymore,” Mewhinney’s mother Amanda Johnson said.

Contestants for Miss Spokane range in age from 18-24, and Mewhinney said she is looking forward to competing again.

“Oh definitely,” she said. “It was an amazing experience with amazing other women.”

According to its website, “the Miss Spokane Scholarship Organization is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) Organization that sponsors the Miss Spokane and Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen Competition as well as the Miss Spokane Princess Mentoring Program in Spokane, Washington. Miss Spokane and Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen are local preliminaries to the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Competitions, which are the nation’s largest providers of scholarships to young women.”

John McCallum can be reached at


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