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Bishop Miege Press

The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press

The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press


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With A Step And A Turn: Sophomore wins the state title of Miss Czech Slovak through strong dedication to her culture and heritage

Posing for a quick picture, sophomore Katherine McGee is all smiles with her mother, grandmother, and younger sister. “My mom said, ‘you should give it a shot,’ and she’s always wanted me to do it too, so I did,” McGee said.

As sophomore Katherine McGee took her final bow at the Miss Czech Slovak State Tournament, her heart filled with pride for her achievements and gratitude for the talents and gifts she possessed to win such a prestigious event. 

McGee participated in the Missouri tournament for Miss Czech Slovak between June of 2023 and January of 2024. She will move on to the National Miss Czech Slovak Pageant this August, continuing a tradition going back generations. 

“My great-grandmother emigrated to the United States, and it was always her dream to have one of her grandchildren be in the pageants,” McGee said. 

Sixteen is the starting age for pageant-goers and 26 is the cutoff. McGee competed against the entire age group at the state tournament, giving it her all. 

“We’ve been doing the dance styles forever, but the pageants themselves are entirely different,” McGee said. “So my mom said, ‘You should give it a shot,’ and she’s always wanted me to do it too, so I did.”

McGee explains that the competitions require focus and attention and can be full of their fair share of heated moments. 

“We definitely do a lot of preparation and there’s a lot of competitiveness,” McGee said.  “The girls are very sweet, but there’s definitely tension because you are all fighting for the same spot.”

According to McGee, she must wear a specific type of dress when she competes at pageants. These traditional Czech dresses are called Korje (kro-yeh), which correlate with the performers’ dance styles. 

“You dance in those and model those,” McGee said. “Essentially, you just walk around the stage for 30 seconds and stop at different spots on the stage.”

Leading the way for the next generation, sophomore Katherine McGee trains the younger children. Since she’s still 16, McGee is partly in charge of helping lead kids. “We’re participating in a traditional style dance where we pretend to plant seeds into the ground,” McGee said.

McGee says that girls will use their talents to their advantage when they compete, rather than everyone having to do the exact same thing. 

“A lot of girls will sing for their talent,” McGee said. “ I do speaking like you can do an oration or you can do poetry, so that’s more of what I do.”

According to McGee, competitors must also do a sit-down interview with each girl in order to ask them questions about Czechoslovakian news, political events, and their own personal history. 

“You have to do lots of research on where your family is from,” McGee said. “We had to go to a genealogy center and track all of my roots back to where exactly they were from, such as what little village.”

McGee also mentioned that she sees how appealing this will be for colleges. Even though she’s only a sophomore, McGee is ready for the next step. 

“I know that it is a big deal and colleges like it when they see that you have won a state title in a sense,” McGee said. “Along with these competitions, we get lots of college scholarships, which is nice.”

This is more than just a way for McGee to attract colleges though. She says that these pageants mean a great deal to her. 

“I like getting to meet all these people that are from the same place and I enjoy dancing with them,” McGee said. “While we’re together, we create such a great bond.”

McGee has only one wish for the future, which is that more people will come to know about Miss Czech Slovak and the culture as a whole. 

“I do kind of understand that it’s unique and maybe not everyone is European,” McGee said. “It’s fun to educate people and that’s what I’m all about. Miss Czech Slovak gives you an opportunity to embrace your culture and ethnicity.”

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River Ball
River Ball, Opinion Editor

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