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July 7, 2004

Deaf America contenders visit Olathe before pageant

From: Kansas City Star, MO - Jul 7, 2004

By NOEMI HERRERA The Kansas City Star

The new Miss Deaf America will be crowned Friday in the Music Hall in downtown Kansas City.

Twenty-seven pageant contestants representing their states have been in Kansas City and Olathe since last week in preparation for the pageant.

Representing Kansas is Erin Michelle Land, a 23-year-old paraprofessional from the Kansas School for the Deaf who hopes to win so she can help remove the stigma of mental illness, which is her platform as a pageant contestant.

For a two-year reign, Miss Deaf America's main duties are to serve as an ambassador of goodwill on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), as well as the deaf and hard of hearing community through volunteer work, public appearances and more.

During the past week, pageant contestants have visited the Country Club Plaza, had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, and attended a retreat at the Kansas School for the Deaf.

The pageant is running congruently with the 47th Biennial NAD Conference, being held at the Kansas City downtown Marriott. The conference includes time for watching the pageant preliminary events and Friday's finals, scheduled for 8 p.m.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, contestants will participate in interviews, talent presentations, platform speeches and an evening gown show.

The Miss Deaf America pageant has been a biennial NAD Conference tradition since 1972.

© 2004 Kansas City Star and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.