by Shelby Willis
LSUS’ current royalty will pass down her crown Saturday, and as her reign comes to an end, another student’s will begin. The Miss LSUS beauty pageant will take place Feb. 29 at 3 p.m. in the LSUS UC Theatre.
Six contestants will be competing in the pageant: sophomore and biology-major Reaghan Jones; sophomore and criminal justice-major Abbagail Huddleston-Williams; junior and general studies-major Caitlin Hanning; sophomore and business-major Hailey Garrett; sophomore and early childhood education-major Madison Parker; and sophomore and English-major Danielle Bowles.
Current Miss LSUS, Courtney Jackson, said that being crowned Miss LSUS has been surreal, has meant so much to her, and has been an experience she will never forget. “This position is more than just a crown and a sash. Miss LSUS serves as a liaison for LSUS and must always represent the university well,” Jackson said. “I expect the future Miss LSUS to have a strong presence on campus and be a role model and good representative for the university.”
The contestants have voiced their excitement for the upcoming pageant and what the pageant means to them. “The main reason I decided to do this pageant is because it is a way to meet new people and become a more well-rounded leader” Hanning said. She continued, “This pageant helps many girls get out of their shell and create bonds with others that will last a lifetime.”
Another contestant, Williams, expressed that her pageant history began when she was 4 years old and she has loved pageants ever since. She said pageants build her confidence and she hopes that other girls feel the same because “we all deserve to shine.” “I love watching other girls do pageants as well because you can literally see how the girls light up when they hit the stage. It’s so amazing,” Williams said. “Doing pageants means the world to me because I feel as if I’m advocating for girls who don’t feel confident enough.”
Another contestant, Bowles, proclaimed that she will focus on change if crowned Miss LSUS. “A big thing I would like to change if I am crowned is the emphasis on student involvement in the community,” Bowles said. “I would like to open more opportunities up for humanities majors to get involved in community.” Bowles also said that she plans to attend theatre school after graduating from LSUS and wants to take every opportunity possible to be on stage.
According to Jackson and the contestants, the pageant is more than a competition, but rather an opportunity to acquire confidence, connections, and an honorable reputation. Jackson said it is a bittersweet moment for her to retire her crown and that her favorite part of the position was going to different events and meeting new people.
“While I love being Miss LSUS, I want another girl to be able to experience this wonderful journey and learn and grow from it like I have,” Jackson said.