I am blessed to be a contestant in the 20th anniversary of the Miss West Chester University pageant. In this article, I want to show you the majesty and importance of Miss WCU. This year’s Miss WCU Erin McCarthy, organized 18 events throughout 2017 to forward her platform of mental health and suicide awareness. This was especially impactful for our campus during the first week of October, which was dedicated to mental health awareness. This year, 15 wonderful women are competing for the honored crown.

The Miss WCU pageant truly helps every woman who joins the crowned woman beautifully through her year. This year I have the honor of sharing the stage with lovely singers, dancers and color guard experts. For my talent, I decided to show my chemistry side and do a few experiments on stage. Sometimes people question me as to why a science major would be interested in the Miss WCU crown, and I understand their question.

It might be odd, but the Miss WCU title shows the power and importance of women on our campus and in our community. Whether a contestant is in a science, communication, design or humanities programs, that woman can encourage, inspire and engage others in her platform and the community. The Miss WCU family is proud to have three former Miss West Chester Universities earn doctorates in their respective fields.

I loved growing during this process through practicing stage presence, poise, confidence and actively talking with professionals. The pageant is broken into different segments: casual wear, talent, evening gown and, the least known, interview. The 10-minute interview is worth 40 percent of each contestant’s score and then combined with the other sections. Interviews will always be active in college students’ minds, and this contest prepares each woman well to talk about herself confidently without boasting.

The interview practice helps each woman grow and learn to enjoy telling concise stories while showcasing their specific personality. My favorite time during mock interviews was when they asked, “If you could create a new badge for Girl Scouts, what would it be?” because I had the opportunity to showcase my major and respond with: “Well, the Girl Scouts technically don’t have a chemistry badge.”

In feedback, we were encouraged to add more of our personality to our interview because the judges want to know the real you, not a pseudo version. Both students and adults preparing for interviews can take this advice and use it in their own life. Interviews are just one example of the encouragement and support that builds the Miss WCU pageant into an amazing growing ground.

The show’s theme this year is “Stars,” showcasing the brilliance of each Miss WCU from 1999 until now: 2018. When we bond as contestants, we get to hear and appreciate what each of us is passionate about. I am passionate about Girl Scouts, a program which builds future women with courage, confidence and character. A few more platforms for this year are empowering youth through education, supporting and raising up the LGBT community and encouraging adoption of animals into their forever homes.

When Miss WCU is crowned, she is blessed with a portion of all ticket sales to go towards forwarding her platform during the year. The community, school and winner will be forever changed by Miss WCU 2018’s work. May this year’s winner have an amazing heart and impact the community and campus for years to come.

Olivia Kimber is a third-year student majoring in chemistry education with a minor in dance. ✉️ OK851646@wcupa.edu.

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