On Feb. 2, Miss UNCP Madison Davenport took her last walk around Givens Performing Arts Center before helping crown the new winner of the annual scholarship pageant.
Davenport knew from firsthand experience that the stakes for the pageant, which dates back to 1952, were high. Seven contestants waited to compete for the prestigious title of Miss UNCP.
It wasn’t just the prospect of earning notoriety and respect that motivated those seven to aim for a first-place finish. The winner of the pageant is entitled to substantial rewards from the school.
The winner’s package includes a $2,000 educational scholarship, free room and board for one academic year, a special crown, a class ring certificate and a $500 wardrobe allowance to be used for the Miss North Carolina pageant.
The process for those who wish to wear the crown isn’t easy. After a private interview, contestants compete in four areas of competition: casual wear, talent, evening wear and an on-stage questioning portion.
DeAndrea Crockwell, a junior majoring in Social Work, was ultimately crowned Miss UNCP 2017, a title that comes with great responsibility and commitment. She is ready for the new role and made sure to mention that the year to come will be “full of change.” Her platform was “Be an Outlet: Promoting Physical and Mental Health Through Fitness and Dialogue.”
First Runner-Up went to Kiara Atkinson, a sophomore majoring in Criminal Justice. Her platform was “Becoming Brave: Mentoring and Outreach.” The experience is one Atkinson will never forget, stating that she “gained friendships with all the girls.” She won a $750 Scholarship and also was given the Bessie Barnes Overcoming the Odds Scholarship. Barnes was crowned in 2015.
Second Runner-Up went to Shania McMillian, a junior majoring in Psychology and Mass Communication. Her platform was “Working for a CAUS: College Accessibility for Undeserved Students”.
McMillian had some advice for future contestants after the pageant: “It will build your confidence. Every woman should give it a shot.”
She won a $500 Scholarship and also was given the Kelsey Cummings Spirit of UNC Pembroke Scholarship.
The non-runner up contestants that competed were Jasmine Davis, Mia Baxley, Rebecca Wey and Rebecca Hayes. No contestant left without an award, as each of the non-finalists received a $100 scholarship and a trophy.
In addition to Barnes, recent Crockwell joins a group of recent Miss UNCPs that includes Keley Cummings, Joecelyn Hunt, Chasity Chavis and Jenna Walters.