TICONDEROGA — It was 50 years ago when Ticonderoga’s first Junior Miss winner walked down the aisle to cheers and applause.
Susan Davidson Rathbun remembers every detail of her 1962 victory over 14 other senior girls at Ticonderoga High School.
Rathbun, who was also prom queen before she graduated in 1963, received $250 as Junior Miss.
“I remember thinking that was a lot of money (then). I used it to go to college. I had a Regents scholarship, too.”
She went to Trinity College, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
The program is held in November every year, and the winner reigns for the following year, so Rathbun was the 1963 Ticonderoga Junior Miss.
The program was very spontaneous, she said, and they all had a great time.
“We decided we were in it, we didn’t practice a lot, and we put on the show. I had a lot of fun. Back then it was pretty much the same as it is now.”
Just like the winner now, Rathbun walked forward on the auditorium stage at Ticonderoga High School when her name was called.
The judges do interviews before the program, she said, and most of the category awards are probably decided then.
“A big percentage of it was settled before we even got on the stage, scholastic and leadership (awards). It was a great experience,” Rathbun said.
BETTER THAN EVER
The program was then supported by the now-defunct Ticonderoga Jaycees. It’s now sponsored by the Ticonderoga Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.
Rathbun said she competed in the state program, though she didn’t win anything.
She praised current Ticonderoga program director Tracey Baker-Cross.
“It’s great to see Tracey and the rest of the group keep it alive. She has such a passion for it. They’re making it better than ever.”