Yelm High grad Clista Rakow wins Miss Thurston County pageant

Staff writerFebruary 9, 2014 

Yelm High School graduate and Pierce College student Clista Rakow is Miss Thurston County for 2014.

Rakow, 19, was crowned at the end of the 2½-hour Miss Thurston County Pageant, which was staged Sunday before hundreds of people at the Olympia High School Performing Arts Center.

Rakow now advances to the Miss Washington contest in July for an opportunity to compete for the title of Miss America.

Rakow was one of seven contestants Sunday. Emily Hammack was first runner-up. Second runner-up was Shyla Shankle. True to the format for the Miss Washington and Miss America pageants, contestants competed in several categories: swimsuit, talent, public speaking — all were interviewed on stage — and evening gown.

During the interview portion, each was asked two questions — one about her “platform,” which is the cause or charity she supports, and a more informal question.

All were interviewed by the reigning Miss Thurston County, Alicia Gonzales.

Rakow was asked about the cause she supports — suicide prevention and awareness — and a follow-up question about the Future Farmers of America.

“The FFA is actually a really big deal at Yelm High School where I attended,” she said. “It teaches leadership skills and things that you’re going to be using throughout life to be a successful adult. I was on a curriculum activities board and I was able to compete at state, and we learned how to run proper meetings, we learned a lot about farming, and we just made great relationships with everyone throughout the state.”

In addition to several prizes, Rakow won a $1,000 scholarship.

Other awards Sunday night: Miss Congeniality went to CeCe Noyen, a student at Black Hills High School, and the People’s Choice award, which was decided by the audience, went to Mallory Arnold, a graduate of Saint Martin’s University. Kayla Altman and Jessica Shaeffer also competed Sunday.

Among the judges were George Sharp, executive director of the Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau; and Stephanie Hemphill, executive director of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce and a Sea Gals cheerleader.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403;

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