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Owen County teen finishes in top 10 at national pageant

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Marlee Lathrem, 2013 Miss Junior Teen Kentucky United States, a freshman at Owen County High School and the daughter of Brian and Rita Lathrem, had the honor of representing Kentucky at the Miss United States National Pageant in Washington D.C. the week of July 2-7.
Lathrem earned this opportunity after she won her state title in February of this year in Lexington.
Lathrem spent her week in Washington getting to know girls from all over the United States as well as learning more about the organization on a national level.
While in Washington, Lathrem was very busy with a full schedule of rehearsals each day and having the opportunity to make appearances.
Lathrem, along with all the delegates marched in the Capitol Hill Parade on the Fourth of July and signed autographs throughout the week at various locations such as the Arlington National Mall and the “underground mall” of the Crystal City Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Va. and at many local restaurants.
“It was an experience I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life.  Everyone was so nice and gave nothing but encouraging words to me and would stop me for pictures and a personal autograph, because I was from Kentucky,” Lathrem said. “Believe it or not, everyone showed their love of Kentucky and the Wildcats. I was amazed at how much everyone was cheering for my state to win.”
Lathrem had to compete in several preliminaries that week before the final competition was held on Sunday afternoon in order to earn a spot in the top 15 and a chance at the title.  
Lathrem competed in swimsuit, evening gown and a private personal interview where she was asked many times about the organizations platform, the American Cancer Society, along with her personal platform of anti-bullying.
Lathrem’s scores were high enough to earn her a top 15 finalist spot on Sunday evening.
Once a delegate earned the top 15 spot, the top 15 had to recompete in swimsuit to be a finalist in the top 10.
After doing so, Lathrem was a top 10 finalist, which earned her another spot to recompete in evening gown.
“My goal was to make the top 15 and I surpassed that,” Lathrem said. “Never would I have dreamed as a 14-year-old that I would be representing my hometown and state in D.C. and that I would be a finalist at the national level. I encourage girls of any age to follow your dreams and set goals for yourself. I would like to think that I am an example of no matter where you are from, big or small towns, big dreams can come true – you just have to believe in yourself and don’t give up. My personal motto and something I live by everyday is ‘You can only fail, if you give up.’ People will try to knock you down and belittle you for following your dreams, but always remember that your family and your true friends will stand beside you no matter what.”
Lathrem acknowledges and appreciates the support she has received from the community.
“Thank you to everyone that has supported me through this great adventure and sent many personal messages of encouragement and love to me while in DC. You mean the world to me and I cannot thank you enough,” Lathrem said.
If you would like to contact Lathrem for an appearance,  visit the Facebook page Miss Junior Teen Kentucky United States or the email address of missjrteenkyus@misskentuckyus.com.
The Kentucky state pageant date has been set for Feb. 21-23, 2014 at the Thoroughbred Center in Lexington and consist of little miss, pre-teen, junior teen, teen, miss and MS titles.