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Recently-crowned Miss Kitsap preps for Miss Washington Pageant

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Small-town gal Samantha Przybylek, crowned Miss Kitsap 2008 on March 29, is ready for the limelight.

And now the Seabeck native, a 2005 Klahowya Secondary School (KSS) grad, will hit the big stage: the 2008 Miss Washington pageant, scheduled for July 11-12 at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma.

Pageant week 2008 begins tomorrow, when 16 contestants from around the state arrive in Tacoma, culminating Saturday, July 12 with the crowning of Miss Washington 2008, a title currently held by 2007 winner Elyse Umemoto.

Between tomorrow and next Saturday’s finale, the contestants will make public appearances, fine-tune their acts and enjoy the week-long festivities, all seeking a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance to the Miss America pageant.

“How many times in your life do you get to do this?” Przybylek said Tuesday, excited for the days ahead.

Przybylek, 21, along with Miss Poulsbo 2008 Amy Stadshaug, who also will compete at Miss Washington, has worked with Miss Poulsbo/Miss Kitsap Scholarship Organization Executive Director Michele Wasson to prepare for the upcoming pageant.

Wasson has coordinated mock interviews and helped with wardrobe selection and walking practice, among others, Przybylek said.

“Working with Michelle (Wasson) is great,” Przybylek said. “She’s like the rock and super glue that holds everything together.

“You can come to her with any problem and she’ll fix it.”

In three-plus months as Miss Kitsap, Przybylek has logged substantial community service hours, lending a hand to Poulsbo Rotary, Habitat for Humanity, the Mathis Guild, Harrison Medical Center and other nonprofit organizations.

“You’re working for your community, essentially,” she said. “I’ve grown so much through this program ... the doors it opens for you are amazing.”

Przybylek now turns her attention to Miss Washington, an event she enters for the first time.

Much of that preparation, she said, has come in the form of four practice interview sessions, helping her prepare for the on-stage and private interview components of the competition, both scored by a judges panel.

“The (practice) interviews are a really, really big help,” she said. “You always get a bunch of different questions.”

The 10-minute practice interviews are made up of a four-person judges panel who ask the contestant questions in rapid succession.

Przybylek said that practice, as well as her appearances around Kitsap County, has boosted her confidence in public speaking, an endeavor she struggled with prior to becoming Miss Kitsap.

“I don’t get as nervous as I used to,” she said. “(Before) I couldn’t stand in front of anybody without getting nervous, it’s been such a help.”

Along with the interviews, each contestant also will be scored in swimsuit, evening wear and talent categories. Przybylek, who works with a voice coach once a week, will sing an Eva Cassidy rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.”

Drawn toward the medical field, Przybylek currently works at Belmont Terrace in Bremerton and hopes to become a pediatric oncology nurse.

Her platform issue combines women’s health issues, children’s health issues and affordable health care for college students, all of which she said are a “natural fit” with Children’s Miracle Network, the Miss Washington platform.

In the meantime, however, Przybylek plans to represent Kitsap County and possibly bring the Miss Washington title home, a feat Kristen Eddings, also a KSS grad, accomplished in 2006.

“(Miss Kitsap) is a really personal title for me, to represent the area where I grew up,” she said. “Not every title holder gets (to represent) a community like the one we have here.”

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