A night of poise, beauty and character

Gary Moskowitz

MEDIA DISTRICT NORTH -- Standing onstage in a cream-colored gown under

bright spotlights in front of more than 500 people, Lindsay Muriedas

dropped her jaw and gasped as she was crowned Miss Burbank 2002.

"I feel so honored, and that feels great," said a flushed Muriedas,

17, a senior at Burbank High School. "This group was so supportive and

not competitive. We all immediately clicked."

Miss Teen Burbank, Mallory Sorkness, was equally humble after being

crowned at Sunday's event, which took place in the Burbank Airport

Hilton's Convention Center.

"It's so overwhelming and unbelievable. It's so exciting," said

Sorkness, a 16-year-old junior at John Burroughs High School. "We've all

become so close preparing for this and become good friends."

Muriedas and Sorkness were joined by 32 other contestants who

participated in three areas of the pageant -- swimsuit, evening gown

modeling and personal interviews.

Contestants were asked questions about career goals, community and

personal ambitions, and finalists were asked questions about what

patriotism means to them.

Burbank Mayor Bob Kramer congratulated the 2001 Miss Burbank and Miss

Teen Burbank -- Grace Calderon and Lynee Hastings -- for representing the

city for the past year. Assemblyman Dario Frommer (D-Burbank) presented

each 2002 contestant with an official certificate.

Muriedas and Sorkness will go on to represent Burbank at the Miss

California pageant in August, will work with the Burbank Chamber of

Commerce and will participate in community service events throughout the

next year. The Burbank Junior Chamber of Commerce facilitates their

involvement with the city.

Sunday marks the first time sign language interpreters were present at

the pageant. Burbank High student Sheena McFeely, who is deaf, was one of

the 34 contestants and Miss Deaf America, Lauren Teruel, also attended.

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