Miss Virginia, Chinah Helmendollar, came to Lord Botetourt High School on Wednesday, Feb 24. She is the reigning Miss Virginia because she inherited the crown as a runner up. Miss Virginia 2009, Caressa Cameron became Miss America. Gallery
YOVASO (Youth of Virginia Speaking Out) members Justin Collins and Haley Miller introduced Miss Virginia. Helmendollar delivered a message about making the right life choices, setting goals and avoiding pitfalls like underage alcohol consumption and drugs. Though her personal platform is on Virginians with disabilities, the 23 year old JMU grad knew how to keep the crowd’s attention. A pretty brunette with deep brown eyes, many of the young men in the audience were awe struck by the young woman in the tiara and sparkling Miss Virginia sash.
“Your friends know what you want to accomplish. Your real friends won’t try to trip you up with bad choices. They want you to reach success.” She used an an example of junk food and her quest for the crown. When I started to eat bad things my friends reminded me of my goal.” She drew that analogy to using alcohol and drugs. “If they know your goal is to get a car or the keys to your parents car, they won’t offer you a beer to drink. If you get caught as an underage DUI, you lose your license. Don’t let a bad choice close doors for you.”
When the crowd noise started to gain momentum after alcohol was mentioned, the theater grad waved her hand in a “come here” motion and instructed the student body to “Come on back, come on back,” until they quieted down.
Helmendollar, a Franklin County resident, will travel over 20,000 miles in her reign. Lord Botetourt is one of 19 schools selected for her to visit. She will go to James River High School in late March. The Miss Virginia pageant is held in Roanoke every summer and the Miss America scholarship program is the best available for young women Helmendollar told the audience.
At the end of the assembly, she posed with The Botetourt Buddies an LBHS club for special ed and general ed students to establish fellowship and friendship.