Twenty young women, representing student organizations, classes and residence halls displayed their inner beauty at the annual Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant this Veteran’s Day, Saturday, Nov. 11.
Miss Search Cru, junior mass communication major Tori Pharris was crowned 2018 Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor. Pharris will represent the university at parades, Crusader Knights and other campus events. She will also work to carry out her platform, “supporting military families during deployment.”
“It’s kind of overwhelming,” she said. “I just went into the pageant with the expectation of, ‘let’s just have fun and meet some new people,’ so it’s kind of crazy.”
Junior psychology major Sarah Szyperski directed the pageant, along with her assistant directors, public relations majors senior Rhema Jones and sophomore Mary De Acetis.
“[Directing] was honestly one of the biggest blessings and honors of my life. It’s such an honor to put on this big of a tradition, and work alongside two awesome assistant directors.”
The contestants were judged by four categories: interview, talent, platform, and evening gown.
The night began with the talent portion. From singing about avocados, to dressing like Napolean Dynamite, to karate chopping a boyfriend, the talent portion brought many laughs and smiles.
Pharris’ showcased her musical abilities during the talent portion of the pageant by playing the school’s alma mater using water glasses.
“The school song means so much [to me,]” Pharris said. “By the end everyone was singing, and it made it much more heartfelt.”
The contest also had the evening gown portion, where the ladies showcased their grace and poise. The ladies then performed a group dance together, and the top five finalists were announced.
Each were given interview questions about their platforms and the organizations they were representing.
While the judges collaborated on the winner, co-emcee Annah Jane Pascall performed an original song that she performed last year when she was a contestant in the pageant.
Runner-ups for the pageant were Miss McLane Hall Sarah Jane Leaverton, Miss Junior Class Jenna Albright, Miss Senior Class Katie Winekauf, and Miss Baptist Student Union Hannah John.
1st runner-up John said that she looks forward to supporting Pharris through her reign as the 2018 Miss MHB.
“I don’t plan on stopping with my platform, but I’m excited that I get to support her.”
Several special awards were given out to a few young ladies.
Miss Freshman Class Ally Jordan won best talent for her Bon Qui Qui Starbucks skit. Best Evening Gown went to Miss Student Foundation Hannah Yoes. Miss Farris Hall Keyarius Johnson won both Best Interview and the Congeniality Award.
“We are all just family, so it was an amazing feeling to be with one another and know that my pageant sisters thought that highly of me,” Johnson said.
Szyperski said that she has seen growth and change since they started practicing for the pageant six weeks ago.
“The transformation they’ve had from day one until now, not only with talents, but evening gowns and all of the stuff you’ve seen on stage is amazing.”
Pharris has one goal for her next year as Miss MHB.
“My goal is to love God, love people, and see how I can carry out my platform in whatever way that means.”