Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

At the homecoming parade, everyone sees the wonderful Miss WCU. She is elegant, intelligent and friendly in representing West Chester University. Not too long after the parade, the application to be the next Miss WCU came out, and I talked with my friends about venturing into pageantry.

Even with my friends’ encouragement, I didn’t know what to expect and felt a little nervous. I had no idea how fun and rewarding this would be.

In early December, the women who applied met in Killinger Hall’s basement to get general information and start preparing for the pageant, which was two months away. We all introduced ourselves with our name and our platform and met Ashley, Miss WCU 2016, and Mike, the event founder and organizer.

Mike explained how the event originated as Miss Killinger Hall and that through Marion McKinney, it grew to be an icon for the university. His enthusiasm and passion for Miss WCU is infectious.

Even as a chemistry education major who had never participated in a pageant before, I felt so welcomed and energized.

Exiting the meeting, this excitement overflowed, and I couldn’t wait to get started looking for dresses and prepping my talent.

After finals week, I started looking for outfits that were both elegant and represented my personal style of just a bit country. I asked my friends for assistance, and they were happy to help spend my mom’s extra Kohl’s cash and my Amazon gift cards.

We picked out and bought clothes for casual wear, the interview, talent and the introduction. I also used my high school prom dress and some clothes I had for interviews. Some other contestants rented, bought or borrowed beautiful dresses for their gown. I was so excited to see them on stage.

A fellow contestant, Alaina, shopped with her best friend. Although searching for the right dress was emotional and time-consuming, her best friend helped her find the dress that embodied Alaina’s personality.

As soon as we arrived back at school we had a practice and started learning our intro dance. Alyssa Thomas loved learning the opening number.

“It’s a great way to get the audience excited before the start of the show,” she said, and it’s a number “where each of us can just have fun!”

We also helped each other outside of the official rehearsal time by practicing together wherever we could find an empty space. This made us more of a family and community.

The part I remember best is working as a group to learn how to skip/walk in heels. I still haven’t completely figured it out, but it was a joy to experiment with different walks together.

The last song is beautiful, and the first time we were going through choreography with the music, I almost shed a tear.

I’m excited for my friends and family to see me and this amazing group of girls performing our hearts out. Some of the girls shared that a few years ago, one fanbase brought in a giant balloon head of one of the girls.

To my knowledge, my friends aren’t planning anything this extravagant, but I still know I will love seeing their faces in the crowd.

I know every one of us will support the wonderful woman who wins. I am excited for the winner to bring more awareness and compassion to this campus community. She will be able to affect the climate in positive ways with enthusiastic people behind her.

I’m excited to be a voice for those on campus who need one, or supporting the 19th Miss West Chester University do the same on her year-long adventure.

Olivia Kimber is a second-year student majoring in chemistry education with a minor in dance. She can be reached at

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