YMCA swimmer excelling in pageant world

Jakiah White is just 9, but she already has big dreams.

“I want to be in the Olympics in swimming and the Olympics in gymnastics,” said White, a rising fourth-grader at Rockfish Elementary School in Nelson County and a member of the SMAC swim team at the Waynesboro YMCA.

White is also a rising star in the pageant world, coming off a third-runner-up finish at the East Coast USA pageant in Parsipanny, N.J., last month.

Admittedly a bit nervous in her first pageant back home in Nelson County a year ago, White, the reigning Little Miss Virginia East Coast USA, shows the same focus and determination on the stage as she does in the pool with SMAC.

“She is very determined, very motivated at everything she does,” said her mother, Amy Campbell. “If she puts her mind to something, she can do anything. She loves a challenge. She loves being competitive. She wants to be the best at everything she does.”

But about those nerves …

“Yeah, I was nervous at first,” said White, before lighting up at a followup question on what helps her overcome the stagefright that is natural for all of us.

“When I see all my family cheering for me, I feel really good,” she said.

White has to keep a busy schedule. She swims four days a week with SMAC, and she’s getting ready for a pair of pageants in 2017-2018, the Dec. 3 East Coast Christmas Pageant and the Miss Virginia Inspiring Princess Pageant in June 2018.

The 2018 pageant is held the same weekend as the Miss Virginia pageant, and the young pageant competitors get a chance at a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the big event, an opportunity that White is very much looking forward to.

The Waynesboro YMCA is helping sponsor White at the upcoming pageants, and executive director Jeff Fife is hoping to encourage community members to pitch in to help.

“Jakiah is a great example of a Y kid,” Fife said. “She’s not just excellent in the water with SMAC swimming, but really great out of it as a value-rich kid and leader in her group. The Y is honored to sponsor her for the pageants and proud of her accomplishments.”

Story by Chris Graham


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