Rachel Barker, at right, of Amherst, wins the title of Miss New Hampshire 2007, Saturday at the Stockbridge Theatre in Derry, with first runner-up Natalie Shaw by her side. At nineteen, Barker has only participated in two beauty contests, but walked away the winner of both as she adds her new crown to her previous title of "Miss Seacoast."

DERRY | An Amherst woman took the crown in Saturday night's Miss New Hampshire competition.

Nineteen-year-old Rachel Barker, Miss Seacoast, was selected as Miss New Hampshire 2007 in a pageant held at Pinkerton Academy's Stockbridge Theatre. She was selected from a field of 19 contestants representing towns and cities all across the Granite State, and will now go on to compete in the Miss America competition next January.

As part of her winnings, Barker won a $15,000 scholarship. She succeeds Miss New Hampshire 2006 Emily Hughes.

First runner-up honors went to Miss Winipesaukee, Natalie Shaw, who won a $6,500 scholarship prize. The Manchester woman took fourth runner-up honors in last year's Miss New Hampshire competition.

Contestants were judged on talent, evening wear, interview, academic achievement, athletic and lifestyle wear, and an on-stage question.

Barker is the daughter of Keith and Deborah Barker of Amherst, and is currently a sophomore at Hofstra University pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in public relations.

For her talent portion of the program, she performed a jazz dance to "Tainted Love." Her platform issue is "The Importance of Fine Arts Education in Public Schools."

In addition to her crown and scholarship money, the new Miss New Hampshire received the use of a new Chevrolet for the year of her reign, plus other gifts.

Judges for this year's competition included former Miss New Hampshire 1989 Jennifer Blanchard as chairwoman, Terry Landry, Catherine Zanichkowsky Andruskevich, Michael Distelhorst, A.J. Dees Jr., Kelleigh Domaingue, and Sarah Jo Willey. Auditors were Kynug Kim and Scott Berube, certified public accountants.

According to program Executive Director Bob Oxford, the local preliminary competitions that make up the New Hampshire program produced the 19 titleholders, sharing in a record $90,250 in local scholarships. The program in Derry began in June last year and ended with the runners-up program in Concord, choosing the 19 women to participate in this year's Miss New Hampshire program.

An average of 12 contestants competed at each local level, Oxford said, with local programs awarding more than $5,300 each in scholarship prizes. A new chapter in the North Country, Miss Berlin-Gorham, successfully launched this year.

The top five chapters in terms of scholarship money granted are Miss Rockingham County, Miss Greater Derry, Miss Winnipesaukee, Miss Kingston/Seacoast, and Miss Strafford County.

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