Young Miss, Little Miss Dorchester to ride in parade

The contestants, past winners and current winners (seated, center) of the Little Miss Dorchester and Young Miss Dorchester contest were all gathered inside First Parish Dorchester on Sat., May 18. Councillor Annissa Essaibi-George is shown at top left. Photo courtesy Sonia Essaibi

The annual Little Miss and Young Miss Dorchester contests took place on Sat., May 18, Margaret Janulewicz and Janessa Cosgrove were runners-up for Little Miss Dorchester, at the First Parish Church in Meetinghouse Hill. The contest is held annually for girls ages 7 to 12 in the weeks leading up to Dorchester Day.

The competition – organized by City Councillor Annissa Essaibi-George and her family – is meant to motivate girls to have confidence in public speaking while celebrating the love young women have for Dorchester and its traditions.

This year’s Little Miss Dorchester is nine-year-old Jha’Niyla Tinker, a third grader at Match Community Day Charter School who loves art, competitive cheerleading, singing in Mattapan’s Greater Victory Temple Church choir, and riding bikes.

Margaret Janulewicz and Janessa Cosgrove were runners-up to Miss Tinker.

“Jha’Niyla and one of her younger sisters, who also competed, both spent a couple of weeks practicing their essays using hairbrushes as microphones,” said Jasmine Tinker, Jha’Niyla’s mother. “The day of the contest, they were wearing the dresses I got them and they were so excited, but the nerves were there. When Jha’Niyla won, she looked at me and was just so happy, she said later that she almost cried.”

Tinker was presented with a brand-new bike – one she will share with her sister – together with the customary trophy, sash, and tiara.

Meanwhile, in the 10-12 age division, this year’s Young Miss Dorchester is Angelie McGrath. Samantha Forster was the runner-up in the Young Miss category.

As is tradition, the winners will ride in a convertible near the front of Sunday’s parade.