BARSTOW For most of her life, Anne-Shirley Harpole has hoped and dreamed that she would someday be crowned Miss Barstow and she has the trophies, crowns, sashes, and memories to prove it.

After all of her hard work competing for different Barstow Pageant titles throughout the years, 19-year-old Anne-Shirley finally achieved her dream when she won the Miss Barstow title earlier this month. Anne-Shirley has competed in pageants since the age of 2 so many that she doesn't know the exact number although she recalls one year when she was in 19 different pageants. The large number of crowns and sashes that adorn her bedroom at her parents' house Rich and Donna Harpole testify to the many pageants that she's competed in.

When asked why she has competed in so many pageants, Anne-Shirley said the pageants helped give her a lot of confidence in herself and added that she has been able to meet a lot of important people in the community because of the pageants.

"I feel like I've really grown up with the Miss Barstow pageant," said Anne-Shirley.

As part of her history competing in pageants, Anne-Shirley has also grown up volunteering for the Barstow community which includes working with the Barstow Boys and Girls Club, Meals on Wheels, and helping at many other community functions, said Barstow Pageant director Kris Watson.

"She learned at a very young age to be supportive of the community," said Watson. "She's developed into a very fine example of what our young people have to offer the community."

Anne-Shirley plans to focus on the Boys and Girls Club this year during her reign as Miss Barstow and has already planned a Girls Night Out with pageant winners and young girls from the club for this Friday evening. Her father who founded the Barstow Boys and Girls Club helped her learn how important volunteering is to the community, said Anne-Shirley.

Anne-Shirley said that working with the pageant has also helped with her education, including the scholarships that have helped her pay for school and the experience she has gained from volunteering and meeting community members. She will be graduating from Barstow Community College with her associate's degree next month and plans to transfer to Cal State University San Bernardino to earn her bachelor's degree in public administration.

She then wants to earn a master's degree in business administration so she can work in human resources or public relations.

For Anne-Shirley, her successes in life would not have been possible without the help of her parents and Watson.

"My parents have taught me to have high standards and good values," said Anne-Shirley. "I also want to give a big thanks to Kris Watson. She's helped me grow."

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4122 or kjonas@desertdispatch.com