Campus crowns Miss MHB 2017
Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells
A crowd of parents and students sat anxiously Saturday evening in Walton Chapel, waiting to see who would become Miss MHB 2017. As a hush fell over the spectators, Miss United Way, Bridgit Sillman, was announced as the competition’s winner.
After the announcement, the junior education major’s fellow contestants ran to hug the newly-crowned pageant queen and celebrate her victory.
“It still doesn’t quite feel real,” Sillman said. “My com group leader texted me that night and asked how do you feel, and my response was exhausted but also wide awake, overwhelmed but also really calm, still pretty sure it’s all a dream. That’s kind of still how I’m feeling, it doesn’t feel real.”
Despite her dream-like state, the new Miss MHB wowed the audience and the judges with her emotional performance of “Fight Song,” in American Sign Language. Sillman has always had a passion for the language and children with special needs, especially those who suffer from emotional disorders like her brother.
“I see my platform as more community-based versus campus-based because it affects more people in the community then it does on campus,” she said. “I am a firm believer in early intervention, for all special education. The sooner you’re able to implement behavioral modification, the better.”
Sillman also believes helping children and other community members who suffer from such disorders will not only help these people, but it will also help to erase the stigma associated with emotional issues.
While the education major is eager to start work on her platform, she is still reveling in the experience that was pageant and the friendships she made along the way.
“It was really hard because those friendships didn’t come until the end for me, but throughout the last few weeks we were able to open up and be transparent about how this all was affecting us,” she said. “We all sacrificed so much to do this, it wasn’t just a piece of cake. Being transparent was really something that I learned throughout this entire experience.”
Sophomore journalism major, Felicia Suominen, who represented Gettys Hall, echoed Sillman’s feelings about the sisterhood that arose from the shared pageant experience, and said she also learned a lot about herself.
The Miss MHB Pageant has become a highly-anticipated event each year not only because it is entertaining, but because it portrays the women of the university in a positive light. The contestants are not only celebrated for their outer beauty, but for their inner
beauty as well.
Hundreds turned out for the last night of competition to see the crowning and the acknowledgement of all those who made the evening possible.
“We all put in so much work, but in the end I think it was so very worth it,” said junior marketing major Kelly Carlin, who represented Johnson Hall. “I’m proud of our new Miss MHB. I think Bridgit (Sillman) will do an amazing job with the crown and impact UMHB as a whole.”