Competing for the title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, was Amanda Northrup of Cleveland, April Warren of Alcoa, and Amanda Szidiropulosz also of Cleveland. Kaylee Arrowood of Johnson City was the Junior Miss Wheelchair Tennessee applicant. Skylar Vaughn-Hisey of Ooltewah was the Little Miss Wheelchair Tennessee applicant. Before resting up for a busy Saturday, they were able to spend some time with their families at Market Square dining and shopping. The competition began early Saturday morning with the delivery of platform speeches. Each Ms. Wheelchair contestant gave a two to three minute speech on an issue that is important to her. Afterwards, each contestant was interviewed twice by a panel of judges. The judges were Jeri Wasco, state coordinator for Ms. Wheelchair D.C., Dr. Gene Hayes, professor of Recreation and Sports Studies at University of Tennessee – Knoxville, and Dennis Clark, IT service provider of Oak Ridge. The contestants answered fishbowl questions and gave their platform speeches for the audience before judges left to deliberate.
Café 4 at Market Square was awarded the Accessible Business Award. The Triple Star Award was given to Superior Van & Mobility of Knoxville for providing outstanding support to the community. The Advocacy Award was given to Amanda Szidiropulosz for promoting empowerment of individuals with disabilities and having the best understanding of the philosophy of the Independent Living Movement. Ms. Congeniality was presented to Amanda Northrup and was voted thus by her fellow contestants. April Warren was awarded both Best Speech and People’s Choice. Votes for People’s Choice were accepted until 5:30pm on Saturday.
Our winners this year are Amanda Szidiropulosz, Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee, Kaylee Arrowood, Junior Miss Wheelchair Tennessee, and Skylar Vaughn-Hisey, Little Miss Wheelchair Tennessee. First runner up for Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee was Amanda Northrup and second runner up was April Warren. Amanda Szidiropulosz will have the opportunity to travel to Long Beach, California this August to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America 2015. It is a prestigious title and another opportunity to travel and speak on behalf of her community to promote awareness and positive change to the lives of all Americans.