Four years ago, Hannah Mowry didn't think she would step onto the Miss Tri-Cities stage.
The Hanford High School graduate and self-described band nerd didn't think the program had anything to offer her.
Three years, and one Miss Tri-Cities crown later, the 21-year-old music education grad takes to a bigger stage June 29-30 at the Highline Performing Arts Center in Burien in hopes of being crowned Miss Washington.
"I am absolutely elated," she said. "It's going to be so much fun."
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She left Sunday for a week of preparation for one of the last major event before handing the crown to the next Miss Tri-Cities on July 14.
"It has been absolutely the most challenging and most rewarding job that I've ever had," she said. "The experiences that I have had as Miss Tri-Cities have been really magical and life changing."
The recent graduate from Central Washington University has brought her love of music into area classrooms, showing students how her trumpet works and playing different styles of music before finishing with a Disney song.
She started raising money for music programs recently after collecting wish lists from music educators for needed supplies.
"My whole goal was to try and make band cool, and I think I've done a good job of that," she said.
One of the biggest lessons Mowry plans to take away from the last year is to treat everyone you meet with kindness. She encouraged people to become a bright light in other people's lives.
And she hopes the next generation of contestants is not as reticent as she was to join the competition.
The Miss Tri-Cities contest hands out more than $30,000 in scholarship money. The winner gets about $12,000.
"It's really an organization unlike any other," she said.