Excerpt from the Ostrovetskaya Pravda:
Vote for Mini Miss Ostrovets!
(Posted: May 18, 7 a.m. Category: News, Culture, People)
What can compare to the beauty of May – fresh, not tarnished by dust and dirt, nor the cares and greed of life?
The beauty of children – their charm, spontaneity, and naturalness (children are, after all, called “the color of life”) – is so very similar to spring, and as a result, the Ostrovets District beauty contest “Mini Miss” was chosen to be held at this time of year.
The contest will be held in Ostrovets on June 2, and will commemorate International Children’s Day. Seventeen participants have entered the competition, most of which can be seen in the attached photo.
And starting today, you can vote for the one that, in your opinion, is the most cute, charming, and attractive “Mini-Miss” on the Ostrovetskaya Pravda site. The winner of this online election will receive the title of “Miss Photo” (one of the titles that apparently contribute to the big prize). So go to the site, vote, and determine the first winner of this contest!
I often mentally compare Ostrovets with the Tri-Cities, the urban cluster of Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland where my parents grew up, and I was born, located in the middle of farmland in southeastern Washington state. As the Tri-Cities was in the middle of the Cold War, Ostrovets has been selected as the site of a nuclear power project, and thus it is slowly taking on a similar character (albeit at a much smaller scale) of Richland, at one time designated with the nickname “Atomic City”.
Life here isn’t that different from the semi-rural existence that characterized the region in the U.S. Pacific Northwest when the first nuclear power plants went in during the 1940s. The atmosphere encouraging the aspirations of either adults or children in this town are certainly not that different. A walk along the streets will usually result in an encounter with yard chickens, a walk by the river might involve the chance to feed ducks (or swans if you are lucky), and yes, the girls do compete against each other in local beauty contests.
Having a family with children here means that eventually they do grow up. Boys discover there is more to life than apps on mobile telephones and computer games (well, we hope they do, my nephew is still pretty transfixed at the moment), and girls eventually outgrow dolls and jumping around in puddles. What hopefully that means is that our boys and girls find ways in which to contribute to their communities that are in line with what their talents and desires drive them toward.
Enter my niece, Alisa Shadura (Szaduro if you are writing the name in Polish). Perhaps even more than my own daughter, she’s always sought to be the center of attention, and at age 9, has drifted ever more closely to the performing arts with each passing year. At holidays, she rounds up the family’s female musical talent (at this point, her rebellious little sister, Eva, and her sometimes difficult to direct cousin, Albina), and directs make-shift talent shows. At city events, she takes to the stage as a fledgling music and dance student, and performs routines that are choreographed to emphasize whatever it was that the event intended to emphasize. In her own still juvenile way, she networks with friends from the camps (summer, etc.) she attends from all across the country, and is gradually achieving a support group that will eventually become ever more important as she grows older.
This year, she is one of 17 girls entering Ostrovets’ Mini-Miss contest, publicized by the Ostrovetskaya Pravda. Entrants are aged between 6 and 10, each of which is competing for the chance to represent the city as its youngest, or “Mini” Miss Ostrovets. As with any competition, the girls are judged on beauty, poise, talent, or in general, worthiness to represent Belarus’ version of “Atomic City.” The opening round of competition is the “Miss Photo” contest, where online readers are encouraged to vote for the girl they think is most photogenic.
There were originally some issues with the “Miss Photo” portion of the competition, as one would suppose that there would be in any attempt at something new, such as this. Katsyanaryna Butsyanavai’s photo of 14 of the 16 competing girls (one has dropped from the original 17 entering the running) that appeared on the front page is large enough in the print version (the one that arrives on each subscriber’s doorstep), but the online version is fairly small and neglects any captions identifying who is who (not even in print). A second page identifying the girls was finally posted after Sunday, May 19, after more than 380 votes were already entered in, and advertising the individual photos with the names has apparently not been that great an editorial priority (you’ll find the photos here – follow the procedure specified below to find Alisa’s picture – hers is below her name). So at this point, rather than, as stated, being a competition on who appears prettiest in the photo to the most people, it’s pretty much a contest of who personally can get other people they know to vote for them.
(As an aside, our Alisa is the blonde girl that is fourth from the right, in the white shirt and black skirt, toward the front in the photo.)
If you are willing to help, please follow the following procedure:
- Click on the site of the Ostrovetskaya Pravda: http://www.ostrovets.by/
- Copy the following Cyrillic text: ШАДУРО Алиса
- While on the Ostrovetskaya Pravda page, hit Control-F, or Find Text.
- Paste into the Find Text box the Cyrillic text you copied (ШАДУРО Алиса) and click the downward arrow.
- Click the check mark in front of the highlighted text.
- Go to the bottom of the list and find a box with the word “ГОЛОС” inside.
- Click this box.
Your much appreciated vote should be tabulated, placing Alisa another vote closer to winning the competition. As of this writing, first place was held by Aleksandra Blashkevich (496 votes – 28 percent of 1,770 cast), second by Diana Volodko (401 votes – 23 percent), third by Karolina Shukelovich (175 votes – 10 percent), and fourth by Darya Petrovich (159 votes – 9 percent). Alisa has only 51 votes (or 3 percent) at this time.
(I hope to keep this tabulation updated regularly – this entry was collected at 2 p.m. local time, Sunday, May 26. Votes are apparently to be tabulated by the day of the main competition on Sunday, June 2.)
I tend to be biased, perhaps, but I feel that Alisa will be an excellent representative of Ostrovets as its “Mini-Miss”. And who knows, in another dozen years with the right encouragement, she may turn out to be the singing voice of the next generation of Belarusians.