Julissa Virrey

With a first runner-up title in 2016 for Miss Teen of Oregon, Walla Walla native Julissa Virrey again entered the contest this year and came away with the Miss Teen of Washington crown.

The 17-year-old Walla Walla High School Opportunity program senior attended the pageant’s final training and was crowned along with winners from Oregon, Montana and Idaho at the College of Idaho in Caldwell on July 22.

As Miss Teen of Washington 2017, Julissa will serve as an inclusion ambassador for American Pageants’ charitable campaign Special Olympics’ Spread the Word to End the Word. 

She will be able to compete for the national title of Miss Teen of America 2018 and more than $30,000 in scholarships, cash, travel and prizes during the Miss Teen of America competition Nov. 15-19 in Orlando, Fla. 

Sponsored by American Pageants National Office in Minneapolis, Minn., the national event will be at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. Titles and prize packages will be awarded in the Little Miss of America for ages 7-9, Young Miss of America, ages 10-12, Junior Miss of America, ages 13-15, and Miss Teen of America, ages 16-18.

State judging was based 60 percent on submitted applications. In Idaho where she and the other state winners were crowned, Julissa participated in a workshop that informed them on stage questions and speaking, a general awareness test, resume building, three different types of interviews and poise and personality projection.

“I feel amazing about this experience, I am absolutely in love with American Pageants Inc. and everything that they stand for,” she said.

The American Pageants Scholarship program judging is based on scholastic record, service and achievement to school and community, personal development, general awareness, personality projection and poise in evening wear and judges’ interviews.

Julissa and other titleholders won $100 to hold a Special Olympics inclusion event, a custom crown, an official sash, a crown case, American Pageants clothing and gifts, appearance opportunities and a national program book. 

The daughter of Elvia Oribio of Walla Walla and Jesus Virrey of Milton-Freewater, Julissa enjoys singing, volunteering, photography through Julissa Virrey Photography and advocating for mental health and suicide prevention.

At Wa-Hi she is an Opportunity Ambassador for Blue Devil Strength. She also volunteers at SonBridge Community Center and aspires to become a high school teacher.

The scholastically based pageant founded in 1983 recognizes young women for their outstanding personal achievements, leadership abilities and artistic, creative or athletic achievements. 

Judging is not focused on beauty or attire, rather the pageant strives to promote confidence and achievement. 

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313. 

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,