A Greenbrier teen took home Arkansas Miss Amazing Pageant title earlier this month.
The Miss Amazing Pageant works to build friendships and confidence in adolescents and women with special needs of all ages.
The 2018 Arkansas Miss Amazing Pageant was held March 24 at the Union Theatre on the University of Arkansas campus. Eighteen-year-old Gracie St. Romain, a Greenbrier High School junior, brought home this year's Teen Queen title.
"[This is] a great organization that allows us to celebrate our special needs community and let them know we're here to support them ... and give them a night to shine," St. Romain's mother Rhonda Morgan said.
Morgan said the event was a fun-filled night and was inclusive of all ages.
Each participant is assigned a "buddy," who supervises and guides the participant throughout the night's events while also giving the parents some room to breath through the many activities and performances of the night.
Morgan said St. Romain first became involved in the Miss Amazing Pageant when they lived in California. This year's Arkansas event in Fayetteville was the first they've participated in since moving to the state last year.
The event "helps with inclusion, gives [the participants] confidence and boosts their sisterhood," Morgan said.
The night gives young girls and women with special needs the chance to dress up and have fun, St. Romain's mother said.
Arkansas Miss Amazing State Director Maddie Stinson first served as a buddy in the 2015 Missouri Miss Amazing Pageant before bringing the event to Arkansas.
"After making amazing friendships and seeing the joy that Miss Amazing brings everyone, she was hooked," the program's website states. "She traveled all over just to help at these pageants, and this year decided to take her love to the next level."
The 2018 Arkansas Miss Amazing Pageant was an inaugural event for the state.
The program provides opportunities for girls and women with special needs they otherwise may never have had a chance to have.
Morgan said the pageant helps show the special needs community they have support and serves as a fun-filled night to celebrate who they are.
"They do whatever they want to do," she said of the talent routine acts. "We encourage everyone to do their own thing."
Morgan said she has seen girls as young as 5 years old and women as old as 50 years old participate in the event. She also said men are encouraged to participate as escorts during the event.
After being named 2018 Arkansas Miss Amazing Teen Queen, the Greenbrier teen will move on to the national competition in August.