Jacksonville State University will be holding its annual pageant for the title of Miss Jacksonville State University tomorrow, January 18th, 2013.
The pageant serves as a preliminary pageant for the Miss Alabama Pageant, which will take place during the summer of 2013.
The Miss Alabama Pageant winner will then go on to compete for the title of Miss America in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Perhaps the most notable Miss Jacksonville State University is Heather Whitestone, who went on to be crowned as the first deaf Miss America in 1995.
Beth Milam won the honor of representing the university as Miss JSU at last year’s pageant.
Since being crowned, Milam has used every available opportunity to represent JSU: “If there was a university event I was capable of attending, I went as Miss JSU,” she said in an interview.
That included being present at nearly every pep rally of the football season, reading to students at Kitty Stone Elementary and participating in fundraising for her platform’s cause, Think Pink.
A lot of Milam’s involvement on campus is totally of her own accord. She says she “looked at how Miss Alabama strives to be as visible and involved as possible,” and then followed that example.
“People get touchy—they say, ‘Oh, she’s just a pageant girl,’ but it’s so much more than that. It’s a scholarship opportunity,” she said.
According to their website, the Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women in the country.
Last year, that assistance amounted to more than $45 million paid to over 12,000 women who contended in state and local competitions.
The Miss America Organization also promotes community service by requiring contestants to select a platform, which is an organization or idea that the contestant will support throughout her reign.
The organization also has its own platform, the Children’s Miracle Network. Women competing at the local, state, and national levels must raise funds on behalf of the CMN Hospitals and for the Miss America Scholarship fund.
The pageant tomorrow night will consist of three competitive categories that contestants will be judged on: physical fitness, talent performance and an interview.
The winners of the talent and fitness portions will receive various prizes and a partial tuition scholarship.
The young woman crowned at the end of the night will not only leave with a prestigious title, but receives tuition for a year—amounting to almost $3,000 in Milam’s case.
Miss JSU also receives money for books and other small gifts, like an oil change or gift cards to local boutiques and businesses.
The grand total of prizes and awards given to the various competitors in the pageant has totaled over $12,000 for the past three years.
While the current Miss JSU can’t win tomorrow’s competition, Milam says she will be there to perform a brief entertainment piece. She’ll also be crowning the winner.
“I just hope that whoever it is strives to be active on campus,” she said. “It’s a full-time job, but winning the title comes with a lot of responsibility.”