BRIDGMAN — The 45th Miss Southwest Michigan Scholarship Program and the first Ms. Southwest Michigan Scholarship Program were held April 28 at the Bridgman High School Performing Arts Center.

Brianna McQuistine Gleason, 19, the daughter of Melissa Murdock and Craig Gleason of Niles, was crowned 2018 Miss Southwest Michigan.

Heather Marie Walter, the daughter of Daniel and Patricia Walter of Niles, was named 2018 Ms. Southwest Michigan.

Gleason’s platform is “Little Feet, Big Imprints.” She is a sophomore at Southwestern Michigan College, and enjoys volunteering for the Niles Area Four Flags Apple Festival, reading, outdoor camping, gymnastics and cheer.

She received the People’s Choice Award, Speech Award and Katherina Baumgartner Academic Award for $1,150 in scholarships.

Salute Ad Award, Recruitment Award, Photogenic Award, Modeling Award and Leadership Award, went to Payton Nicole Handy of St. Joseph.

Walter’s platform is “Mental Health – Suicide Awareness.” She enjoys spending time with friends and family, softball, volleyball, outdoor camping and attending Detroit sporting events.

She received the Diana (Dani) Patterson-Mets “Reflections of Excellence” Award, Ticket Sale Award, People’s Choice Award, Photogenic Award, Speech Award and Leadership Award for $450 in scholarships.

Recruitment Award, Modeling Award and Academic Award went to Marcy Jo Klavins of South Haven.

Gleason and Walter will decide in six months if they want to continue on to the state and national level.

The Southwest Michigan Scholarship Program’s focus is to teach the young people in the greater Southwest Michigan area communication, leadership, community service, respect and honor. All scholarships are given to young people from Southwest Michigan.