Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Grace Munro reacts to being crowned. (Ralph Fitzgerald•The Vicksburg Post)
Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Grace Munro reacts to being crowned. (Ralph Fitzgerald•The Vicksburg Post)

Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen has all the right stuff

Published 10:30am Monday, June 9, 2014

There is no question the newly crowned 2014 Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Grace Munro personifies her title.

At just 17 years-old, the Ocean Springs High School senior has already developed skills of focus and vision, catapulting her into a role she says is “a dream come true.”

Grace, who is the daughter of Dee Dee Munro, said she spent the past year preparing for the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen competition, even forgoing competing in regional and national dance competitions, something she said she has done since she was 6.

She also preempted a stout senior year when it came to academics, by loading up with advanced placement classes her junior year.

All were deliberate moves that would allow her the time and energy to perform duties as Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen, which began Saturday night following her crowning at the 10th annual Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, held at the Vicksburg City Auditorium.

“I’m excited about my schedule ahead of me and all the new relationships I will begin and all the people I get to meet and touch,” Grace said.

Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen Taylor Lee, left, was named first runner up. Second runner up was Miss Riverland’s Outstanding Teen Brooke Bullock; third runner up Miss Tupelo’s Outstanding Teen Ahdis Beruk; fourth runner up Miss Leaf River valley’s Lydia Myers. (Ralph Fitzgerald•The Vicksburg Post)
Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen Taylor Lee, left, was named first runner up. Second runner up was Miss Riverland’s Outstanding Teen Brooke Bullock; third runner up Miss Tupelo’s Outstanding Teen Ahdis Beruk; fourth runner up Miss Leaf River valley’s Lydia Myers. (Ralph Fitzgerald•The Vicksburg Post)

This week, she said, she would have a brief break from all her pageant preparation to participate in her hometown dance recital, but afterwards, its back to focusing her attention on getting ready for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant that will be held July 29 through Aug 2, in Orlando, Fla.

Preparations, she said, include pictures in Atlanta, studying up for the interview segment of the competition and appearances.

Along with many facets of the competition, the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant also requires each contestant to support a platform, and Grace has incorporated her love of dance into an outreach program she has started called Dance Therapy: Acceptance for Adolescents.

Partnering with the National Down Syndrome Society at their Buddy Walks and the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Baton Rouge at their Muscle Walks, Grace said, she strives to bring together children with disabilities and without disabilities through the art of dance.

“I hold camps where I will recruit the children at the events and we will come together and learn little pieces,” she said.

Grace added that her camps are also about learning to break the stigma of “we’re different.”

With such an active schedule it’s hard to believe that Grace could add one more thing to her to-do list, but she said she has started reading Phil Jackson’s book, “Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success.”

It’s a leadership book, she said.

“I actually heard about it through Gracie Gold, the Olympic skater. She said it helped her for the mind of competition.”

The book is the memoir of Jackson, who is the winningest coach in the history of professional sports, with 11 NBA championship rings.

The teenager admitted that she has only gotten through the first chapter, but said it was already looking like it might become one of her favorite reads.

The field of competition was amazing, and Grace said all the girls were wonderful and described them as loving.

“I couldn’t have done it without them, she said.

Advice for those looking to compete in the Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen Pageant —“be yourself” Grace said.

“You can’t make the judges fall in love with someone that’s not you.”

If Grace wins the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen title Miss Vicksburg’s Outstanding Teen Taylor Lee, who was named as first alternate would then become Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen.

Second alternate in Saturday nights competition was Miss Riverland’s Outstanding Teen Brooke Bullock; third alternate Miss Tupelo’s Outstanding Teen Ahdis Beruk; fourth alternate Miss Leaf River Valley’s Outstanding Teen Lydia Myers.

The Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, which is the sister pageant to the Miss Mississippi Pageant, offers more than $121,000 of in-kind scholarships and the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will offer up to $4 million in-kind scholarships

The Miss Mississippi Pageant is scheduled to kick off July 9 and will run through July 12 at the Vicksburg Convention Center. Tickets go on sale June 17 and are $125 for all four nights, $30 for July 9 and 10, $40 for July 11 and $50 for July 12.

For more information and tickets, call 601-638-6746 or visit missmississippipageant.com/the-event.

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