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Nov 23, 2015 6:29 PM

Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program goes beyond the stage

NH1.com

The crowns, the sash, the stage and the scholarship - the Miss New Hampshire Program is more than the largest source of scholarship for women in the state.

"I think it helps nourish young women to grow up professionally and learn how to work in a modern job," said Marc Bourgeois of MB Tractor and Equipment.

Marc Bourgeois got involved with the organization years ago- that's how he met his wife, Heidi, who was Miss New Hampshire in 1998. He's now a lead sponsor for the program, while Heidi volunteers for events.

Their involvement has grown because they see the pageant as an opportunity beyond the competition; a chance to learn skills to impact life beyond the crown.

"Usually you are meeting the management teams or the owners of the businesses, so you get a lot of exposure to that and them. Ask them questions- the interview process, there's a lot. It helps you get exposure about what you're going to be dealing with later in life."

The competition includes a formal interview, lifestyle and fitness, on-stage question, talent, and evening wear. Twenty eight local pageants feed into the Miss New Hampshire program. That winner goes on to the Miss America pageant, it's all supported by local volunteers and donations.

"I just felt I give money, I donated every year. Then I see the people that donate endless hours, week to week. And feel like what I did wasn't enough."

Marc hopes that more local business professionals will join the board of directors to continue to grow the program. This year alone, the program has given away almost $132,000 dollars. The participants have gone on to be professors, own businesses, and become journalists. We'll be profiling former titleholders in the weeks to come.

If you'd like to get involved by volunteering, donating or becoming a contestant, visit missnh.org

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