Andrea Helfrich, a first year communication studies major, was crowned 2007 Miss WCU at the ninth annual pageant, which was held on Jan. 27 in Asplundh Concert Hall. All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Andrea’s service platform, entitled, “Underage Drinking and Driving Drunk.” The Miss WCU Pageant is a student-run, service oriented competition, and contestants are judged based on the evening wear, interview, talent and casual wear competitions. The celebration of school spirit and pride are also emphasized within the competition. Contestants are encouraged to share their talents, passion for service and personality while competing for the crown.
“Miss WCU has grown into a huge campus event,” said Director Michael J. Hartman, who began the program as a hall activity in the basement of Killinger Hall in 1999. In 2001, with the support of Marion McKinney and the Residence Life and Housing Department, the program grew into a campus-wide event in Sykes Student Union. In 2002, the pageant moved to Asplundh Concert Hall, which holds the over 400 spectators who attend each year to watch 20 contestants compete for the crown.
The diverse audience consists of student organizations, residence hall programs, family members, alumni, dignitaries and members of the community who are there to show support for the service-oriented pageant and its contestants.
All contestants must dedicate themselves to a community service platform of her choice to spread awareness while presenting her work, ideas and goals to the audience, fellow contestants and judges.
Although the Miss WCU competition is labeled as a pageant, the scoring is heavily weighted in favor of the interview portion of the competition, which lasts for 10 minutes and is organized like a job interview. The interview, which takes place prior to the stage show, accounts for 40 percent of the scoring, while the other 60 percent is divided amongst the talent, casual wear, evening wear and on-stage question competitions.
The contestants were judged within the five categories on the basis of their representation of their personality, confidence, sense of inner-beauty and pride.
When asked about the scandal and superficiality that is sometimes associated with pageants, contestant Jaclyn Chilcote saidthat anyone who doubts the quality of pageants should definitely attend the Miss WCU Pageant to witness the “wonderful, intelligent, involved women,” who participate in the pageant and work hard in both the community and in the classroom.
Miss WCU 2006 Sierra Barnes ended her year of service with a dance performance and a speech describing the transformation that she has experienced since being crowned in February of last year. Barnes explained, “I can now look inside myself and see the things that others have been able to so readily see,” and went on to thank the Miss WCU Pageant for “being a vehicle in reaching my goal.”
During her year as Miss WCU, Barnes attended many community events and was able to fulfill her goal of raising awareness for the need to improve education among urban schools.
The other four Miss WCU finalists included: first runner-up Jaclyn Chilcote, second runner-up Kaitlyn Saker, third runner-up Krista Foulds and fourth runner-up Laurel Nocella.
Third year early childhood and special education major Michelle Ciasca walked away with b the Congeniality Award and the Non-Finalist Interview Award. Other winners include: Danielle C. Corrao, Acadedmic Award; Jackie Aliotta, Leadership Award; Eliza Hadrick, First Year Student Award; Bria Scheb, Spirit Award; Kristen Gilia, Community Service Award; Elise Mosca, Poise and Presence Award; and Emily Mace, Non-Finalist Talent Award.
Rudy Tellez, originator of the popular festivities of WCU’s Banana Day, was named the Miss WCU Fan of the Year. Judges included Kameelah Samar Majied, Kalia Lynne, Nora Fitzgerald, Bethanie Lori and Becky Bledsoe. Former titleholders served as the masters of ceremony for the evening.