Miss Ability Pageant builds confidence and friendships for girls with disabilities
Posted on 04/15/2019
'Text : Miss Ability Pageant 2019, Image: Miss Ability, Danielle Morales, and Junior Miss Ability, Haele King

Since 2011, girls with disabilities in PWCS have been given an opportunity to participate in the Miss Ability pageant, thanks to the volunteer efforts organized by Donna Notarantonio.

Notarantonio is a reading specialist at Pennington Traditional School who began to voluntarily coordinate the Miss Ability pageant after she learned about a similar pageant in West Virginia.

The Miss Ability Pageant aims to help the contestants build self-confidence, build new friendships, and encourage goal setting. The pageant includes talent, interview, and evening gown categories with winners in each category. Each participant receives a crown and sash and is given individual titles.

Notarantonio says she loves to see the talents that the contestants bring to the event, from singing to sign language to dancing.

This year, 11 contestants competed for the Miss Ability title, while 12 contestants competed for the Junior Miss Ability title. The theme was, “A Night Under the Sea.”

Students from high schools all over the county volunteered in various capacities to make the event a day the contestants will never forget. Around 50 high school girls volunteered to provide hair and makeup support to the contestants, decorate the stage and dressing room, and act as buddies to the contestants throughout the day. Nearly as many high school boys volunteered, many of whom took on escort duties, walking arm in arm with the contestants as they competed in the evening gown category. Students from Battlefield High School’s orchestra played music for the contestants and their families during dinner and played the National Anthem for the competition.

“My favorite thing is seeing all the high school students volunteering their time to make this a day the girls will never forget,” said Notarantonio.

In addition, corsages for the contestants were made by Girl Scout troop #90071, and students from Pennington and Gravely Elementary School served dinner to the contestants and their families.

Congratulations to this year’s Miss Ability, Danielle Morales from Brentsville District High School, and Junior Miss Ability, Haele King from Potomac Middle School!