34 to compete for Outstanding Teen crown

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The fifth annual Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will kick off June 11 and run through June 13 with 34 teens competing for the crown this year.

“We have seen an increase in the number of contestants, which is a positive note,” said David Blackledge, executive director of the Miss Mississippi Corporation, which sponsors the Outstanding Teen and Miss Mississippi pageants.

If you go

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

The 2009 Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will be June 11-13 at City Auditorium. Tickets for all three days are $50. Single-night tickets are $15 for June 11 and 12 and $25 for June 13. They are available at www.missmississippipageant.com or 601-638-6746. The Miss Mississippi Pageant is set for July 15-18, but tickets are not yet available.

Last year’s competition featured 29 contestants; the first year, 47. It is open to girls ages 13-17.

The 2008 winner was Miss New South Morgan Burnett, the daughter of Ive and Valerie Burnett of Brandon.

This year’s winner will be crowned June 13 and head to Orlando Aug. 11-15 for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.

Blackledge said the reason for the teen pageant is to develop an interest in the Miss Mississippi and Miss America contests.

Ten girls from last year’s pageant are returning for another chance at the title, and two Warren Central High School students, Miss MidSouth Grace Claire Cordes and Miss Vickburg Kami May, are in the running.

The 34 contestants will go through an interview process June 10, before the candidates are narrowed down to a Top 10 who will compete at Saturday evening’s show hosted by 2008 Miss Mississippi Christine Kozlowski. The Top 10 will compete in four phases — evening wear, lifestyle and fitness, talent and on-stage questionnaire.

The winner will receive a $5,000 savings bond, and the four runners-up will receive $1,000 savings bonds. Blackledge said the winner will also have a wardrobe allowance to be used for the national pageant.

The 2009 Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen contestants are:

• Miss Delta Blues Nikki Baird, 14, the daughter of Rob and Gail Baird of Houston. She attends Houston High School, where she is a cheerleader. She was part of the Junior National Young Leaders of America and has been enrolled in dance classes for 11 years. Nikki will sing “God Help the Outcasts.”

• Miss Alcorn County Emma Baxter, 17, the daughter of Tony and Stacey Baxter of Corinth. She attends Kossuth High School. Emma was an intern for the lieutenant governor’s office, has received an Ole Miss Excellence in Science and Engineering Award, has been an All-State cross country runner and was a district winner in the reading and science fair. She will perform a theatrical dance to “Charlie Brown.”

• Miss Deep South Carsyn Byars, 16, the daughter of Jimmy and Kriste Mangum of Magee. She attends Magee High School. Carsyn is a cheerleader, a member of the Goodwater Baptist Church youth choir and drama team and was the Magee High School 2008 HOBY scholarship recipient. She will sing.

• Miss West Central Kelsey Carroll, 17, the daughter of Jon and Vicky Carroll of Madison. She attends Madison Central High School. Kelsey is a volunteer for the Madison Ark Animal Shelter, has participated in the Mississippi State Fair talent competition for eight years and played Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” at the Actors Playhouse. She will sing.

• Miss Hub City Amanda Joy Clifton, 16, the daughter of Clayton and Debbie Clifton of Hattiesburg. She attends Oak Grove High School. Amanda is a member of the Xtreame Warriors cheer team, was nominated for the Kohels Community Service Award and was chosen for the People to People award. She will perform a lyrical dance.

• Miss MidSouth Grace Claire Cordes, 17, the daughter of Dale and Lyn Cordes of Vicksburg. She attends Warren Central High School. Grace Claire was a gold medal state winner at the 2009 Mississippi Music Teacher’s Association competition, is a member of the Red Cord community service club and is a student choir officer. She will sing “O Mio Babbino Caro.”

• Miss Spirit of the South Bethany Noelle Cuevas, 15, the daughter of Carl and Melissa Cuevas of Long Beach. She attends Long Beach High School. Bethany was the Long Beach Middle School Sweetheart Queen and is a member of the Beta Club and Long Beach First Baptist Church youth group. She will perform an acro-jazz dance.

• Miss Leaf River Valley East Kate Dearman, 16, the daughter of Dudley and Martha Dearman of Hattiesburg. She attends Presbyterian Christian High School. Kate is a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, was third-place in Run for the Roses and has sung “The Star-Spangled Banner” at four University of Southern Mississippi basketball games. She will sing.

• Miss Pine Belt Amanda Carol Emerson, 16, the daughter of Jimmy and Beverly Emerson of Sumrall. She attends Sumrall High School. Amanda was freshman class vice president, Sumrall Junior High’s Most Beautiful and Most Dependable Freshman. She will dance.

• Miss Pontotoc Sawyer Elizabeth Ewing, 15, the daughter of Pat and Melissa Ewing of Pontotoc. She attends Pontotoc High School. Elizabeth was the 2006 Miss Pre-Teen Pontotoc, was chosen for the 2008 National Youth Leadership Forum and is a varsity cheerleader. She will sing.

• Miss Teen Gulf Coast Jeanna Freeman, 15, the daughter of Jimmie and Joann Freeman of Richton. She attends Green County High School. Jeanna was valedictorian of her junior high school class, received an All-American Cheerleader Award from William Carey University and is a founding member of Our Girls clogging team. She will perform contemporary and traditional clogging.

• Miss Northridge Hannah Hathorn, 16, the daughter of Dale and Jean Hathorn of Nettleton. She attends Nettleton High School. Hannah writes for the school newspaper, is a member of the tennis team and is a mentor at Nettleton Primary School. She will sing “Tomorrow.”

• Miss Leaf River Valley West Ryan Henry, 15, of Hattiesburg. She attends Presbyterian Christian High School. Ryan is president of Independent Chicks of Hattiesburg and was a HOBY State Leadership Conference participant and member of the track and cross country teams. She will sing “Vanilla Ice Cream.”

• Miss Dixie Holly Lynn Howard, 14, the daughter of Sharon Howard of Meridian and Tod Howard of Baton Rouge. She attends Northeast Middle School. Holly was a UCA All-Star cheerleader and choreographs dance routines and writes poems. She will perform “Life of the Party.”

• Miss South Central Mississippi Kelsey Ann Jackson, 17, the daughter of Teddy and Jennifer Jackson of Brookhaven. She attends Brookhaven High School. Kelsey leads Mean Girls Aren’t Cool programs at schools once a week, was named a state Voice of Mississippi Student for the Student Advisory Board and volunteers during the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. She will sing.

• Miss New South Brandy Leanne Jarvis, 17, the daughter of Kevin and Shelley Jarvis of Ocean Springs. She attends St. Patrick Catholic High School. Brandy is a member of the student council and the cheerleading and dance team, and she scored a perfect 500 on the state biology test. She will perform a jazz dance.

• Miss Historic Crossroads Madison Taylor Leggett, 13, the daughter of Steve and Cybil Leggett of Rienzi. She attends Alcorn Central Middle School. Madison is a member of Beta Club, was a STAR Student for six years and was a winner in the 2008-2009 regional and state science fair. She will dance. 

• Miss Heartland Laura Lee Lewis, 16, the daughter of Mark and Lorin Lewis of Brookhaven. She attends Brookhaven High School. Laura was a Senate page for three years, a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council and was an Alexander School Board Youth Representative. She will sing “Somewhere.”

• Miss Vicksburg Kami May, 16, the daughter of Marty and Barbara May of Vicksburg. She attends Warren Central High School. Kami is a member of the varsity choir, plays tuba in the band and was second in Warren Central’s Idol 2008 contest. She will sing.

• Miss Central Mississippi Megan Elizabeth McBeth, 17, the daughter of Scotty and Joell McBeth of Brandon. She attends Northwest Rankin High School. Megan was senior class president, the 2009 Mississippi Theatre Association’s Best Actress and was given a key to the City of Flowood. She will perform a theatrical jazz dance to “Defying Gravity.”

• Miss Tupelo Ashley Neal, 17, the daughter of Jeff Neal and Kay Bates of Nettleton. She attends Nettleton High School. Ashley was Miss Nettleton High School, is on the honor roll and is a S.A.F.E. volunteer. She will sing.

• Miss Southern Magnolia Allie Odom, 17, the daughter of Patrick and Diane Odom of Madison. She attends Madison Central High School. Allie is a certified American Red Cross lifeguard, has been a Senate page for three years and received advanced placement on the state biology exam. She will perform “Pleasantly Blue.”

• Miss Riverbend Ruth Oguhebe, 17, the daughter of Mary Oguhebe of Jackson. She attends Murrah High School. Ruth is senior class secretary and a member of the French Club and track and cross country teams. She will sing “Ridente la Calma.”

• Miss Madison Meghan O’Neal, 14, the daughter of Greg and Staci O’Neal of Madison. She attends Rosa Scott High School. Meghan is a church youth and sanctuary choir soloist and a member of the French and Drama clubs and the high school band. She will sing “Every Moment.”

• Miss Southland Mac-Kenzie Ortlepp, 15, the daughter of Pat and Andie Ortlepp of Collinsville. She attends West Lauderdale High School. MacKenzie received the 2009 Journalism Scholar and 2008-09 Most Determined Cheerleader awards, and is president of the student council. She will perform a routine to “Think.”

• Miss Hattiesburg Kimberly Page, 16, the daughter of Anthony and Becky Page of Ellisville. She attends Northeast Jones High School. Kimberly is a member of the Northeast Jones theatrical department and was named Outstanding Female Soloist at the 2009 show choir nationals and Grand Champion Soloist at the Hub City 2009 Invitational show choir competition. She will sing “Let Him Fly.”

• Miss Magnolia Shelby Lynn Pulliam, 15, the daughter of Todd and Judy Pulliam of Walnut. She attends Walnut High School. Shelby is a member of the Math and Science Team and Beta Club and is a cheerleader and softball player. She will sing.

• Miss Metro Jackson Summer Rials, 16, the daughter of Steve and Dana Rials of Wesson. She is a student at Wesson Attendance Center. Summer received the Hank Crabtree Outstanding Workshop Dance Scholarship, was a UCA All-Star cheerleader and is on the varsity basketball team. She will perform a jazz and tumbling routine.

• Miss Heritage Elaina Grace Rossi, 14, the daughter of Beth Ann Rossi of Corinth. She is a student with Eagle Home School Group. Elaina has held 4-H leadership roles, has taught home school enrichment classes and is trained in classical ballet and vocals. She will sing “Cowgirl Blues.”

• Miss East Central Haley Sowers, 16, the daughter of Ronnie and Gina Sowers of Collinsville. She attends West Lauderdale High School. Haley is a cheerleader, a member of the dance squad and Velocity youth choir and was in the Meridian Little Theatre’s production of “A Chorus Line.” She will dance to “Knock of Wood.”

• Miss Madison County Chassidy Sumler, 15, the daughter of Perry and Sharon Sumler of Flora. She attends Madison Central High School. Chassidy is part of the Madison Central Madrigal Singers, was nominated for a National Youth Leadership award and lettered in music her freshman year. She will sing.

• Miss Riverland Ivey Swan, 16, the daughter of Randy and Millie Swan of Hattiesburg. She attends Presbyterian Christian High School. Ivey is a Spirit Girls member, and was a gold medal vocals winner in the Mississippi Music Teachers Association competition and a Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership attendee. She will sing.

• Miss Meridian Carley Elise Townsend, 15, the daughter of Ricky and Amelia Townsend of Union. She attends Union High School. Carley is a high school cheerleader, student body vice president and a member of the Beta Club. She will sing “Don’t Cry Out Loud.” 

• Miss North Central Mississippi Hannah Whitlock, 14, the daughter of Rod and Paula Whitlock of Pontotoc. She attends North Pontotoc High School. Hannah was a seventh- and eight-grade homecoming maid and a student council vice president, and was on the basketball team. She will sing “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely.”


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at mchan@vicksburgpost.com