Reigning Miss Mississippi to pass crownPublished 11:29am Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Chelsea Rick said it was her childhood dream to become Miss Mississippi.
With her mother’s encouragement, the Fulton native has spent a year living that dream.
“My mother always taught me ambition trumps genius,” said Rick, “I knew this was a stepping stone for my future.”
Rick said the scholarships she was awarded will allow her to continue toward becoming a doctor, and with less debt she would be able to practice medicine in smaller communities that don’t pay big salaries.
On Saturday night, Rick’s reign will end when she turns over her title and crown, but her year of experiences as one of the state’s ambassadors is something she gets to keep.
“One of my favorite moments as Miss Mississippi occurred at an appearance during Senior American Day,” Rick said.
“It was not long after getting back from Miss America and I had a really long meet and greet and signed a couple hundred autographs for grandkids, a lot of grandkids.”
It was the performance that followed that will stay with her for life.
Rick sang “An American Trilogy” to an audience filled with veterans.
“They began to rise to their feet and put their hats over their hearts,” she said. “It was so moving to me. They are the greatest generation.”
Rick said her year as Miss Mississippi also was spent promoting her platform Full Plates, Healthy States, which addresses child hunger.
“This has been something I have been working for since I was 13 years old,” Rick said. “I will continue to be an advocate for hunger for the rest of my life until it is obliterated.”
Full Plates, Healthy States raises awareness on the issue and addresses the need for healthy food, she said.
“Mississippi is No. 1 in childhood obesity and yet we have children who are so desperately undernourished,” she said. “When you are in an impoverished family and you barely can put food on the table, you certainly can’t put fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meat and quality dairy products on the table.”
With a passion for those in need, Rick said taking a year off from medical school to fulfill her childhood dream has afforded her invaluable knowledge in osteopathic medicine, her field of study.
“One of the first tenets of being in osteopathic medicine, you must connect mind, body and spirit. You treat the whole person not just the symptoms, not just the disease,” she said. “If you are treating the mind, body and spirit — one of the most important things is to be able to connect with the person you are treating. Good doctors will always say that patients will tell you what is wrong with them if you just listen. As Miss Mississippi I have honed my skills of being able to communicate and connect and listen to people.”
“Now all I have to do is just learn everything about medicine,” she said with a laugh.
“I want to thank my Lord and Savior Christ who is the head of my life, my Dad for kicking my butt in the gym every night and being my number one fan, and of course my beautiful mother. She is truly my backbone. She handled all the backstage production so I can stand before you as the finished product.”
Tonight’s preliminary competitions starts at 8 p.m. and continues through Friday. The top 10 contestants will be named Saturday and will compete for the crown.
A Miss Mississippi’s Choice Award will be offered to fans interested in voting for their favorite contestant. The winner of the fan vote will receive a scholarship of up to $2,000. Fans can visit the Miss Mississippi Pageant website, www.missmississippipageant.org, to cast a vote.
Each vote costs $1 and a portion of the proceeds will fund the scholarship while the remainder will go to the Children’s Miracle Network. Voting will continue until midnight Friday and the winner will be announced on the evening of the final competition.
This year, Katie Stam Irk, who was crowned Miss America in 2009, will serve as the emcee for the show.
The first Miss Mississippi was crowned in 1934 in Biloxi and four women from the state have been crowned Miss America — Mary Ann Mobley of Brandon in 1959, Lynda Lee Mead of Natchez in 1960, Cheryl Prewitt of Ackerman in 1980 and Susan Akin of Meridian in 1988.