Photo by Willis Glassgow
The annual Miss UNCP Pageant has come and gone again and as always it featured a great turnout. With a crowd comprised of students, alumni and proud locals, the room was full of love and excitement as it is every year.
This year was the 65th anniversary of the pageant and to commemorate that achievement, a display was placed in the front area of the Givens Performing Arts Center, which allowed viewers to get an up-close and personal view of past winners dresses.
Once inside the theater, viewers were entertained with the usual proceedings: the posting of the colors, the National Anthem and, of course, the welcoming speech of UNCP’s SGA President Dajer Fernandez.
From there, viewers were treated to a wonderful performance by Miss UNCP 2017, DeAndrea Crockwell, the contestants of the Miss UNCP 2018 Pageant and the UNCP Spirit Squad. These amazing young ladies wore excited smiles and hopeful eyes as they made their debut on the stage in front of their community as well as the judges.
The night continued on and gave way to a few new and exciting experiences within the talent competition. This section of the pageant featured a traditional Hula dance, a contemporary Bollywood dance and a lyrical dance performed to spoken word, none of which had been seen within the Miss UNCP pageant in recent years, and all of which were a delight to watch.
Each contestant brought with them an exciting performance, which wowed the judges and audience alike.
“I honestly didn’t expect to be that nervous about the results and that into the performance,” said Jared, a student at UNCP.
“This was my first time going to the UNCP pageant,” said student Tenisha Mclean. “I’m so glad I got to experience a new part of UNCP.”
The audience then watched as Miss DeAndrea Crockwell took her last walk as Miss UNCP around the theater, and it was announced that Miss Taley Strickland would be representing UNC-Pembroke as our Miss UNCP 2018.
The crowd erupted with joy as she was crowned, and the party was moved into the University Center Annex for her coronation. This year, unlike in past years, it was decided that the pinning of Miss UNCP should be a more formal event to truly make the moment special for both the Queen and her family.
After the pinning, and the first dance shared by Strickland and her father, the crowd was asked to join them on the dance floor. Strickland was joined by a few of UNCP’s former queens, and it became clear how much of a sisterhood these queens truly have with each other.
“I’m happy to be passing the crown to someone I know loves UNCP just as much as I do,” said DeAndrea Crockwell. “I’m sad to let the crown go, but Taley truly deserves it and I’m excited to bring her into the sisterhood.”
The event lasted into the late hours and was enjoyed by many. It is clear that these new and old traditions are here to stay and will last a lifetime.