Miss North Central crowned Miss Mississippi Roark, of Cleveland, in contest two years

Published 12:30 am Sunday, July 3, 2011

Miss North Central Mississippi Mary Margaret Roark, a second-year competitor in the Miss Mississippi Pageant, was crowned the 2011 queen Saturday night at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

“I’m still trying to tell myself this is happening,” said Roark, 20, the daughter of Fred and Dr. Mary Jo Roark of Cleveland.

Roark, who was in the top 10 last year as Miss Meridian, said she thought all week about what it would be like if she won.

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“I’m going to thank as many people as I can and savor this moment,” she said.

Roark, a communications student at Mississippi State University who played the piano during the talent portion of the pageant, was one of 43 women is this year’s competition, the 54th in Vicksburg. She will spend the coming months preparing for the Miss America 2012 Pageant, set for Jan.14 in Las Vegas.

Along with the Miss Mississippi 2011 title and crown, Roark receives a $10,000 cash scholarship, a car to use during the next year and wardrobe money.

“To God be the glory,” said Roark in a live television interview after the crowning. “I am so blessed.”

Miss Central Mississippi Shelby Danielle Corn of Brandon was named first runner-up; Miss Heartland Fenly Akers of Vicksburg, second; Miss Pine Belt/Gulf Coast Marie Wicks of Ocean Springs, third; and Miss Delta Blues Stephanie Stanford of Grenada, fourth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Miss Dixie Chassidy Sumler of Flora, Miss Deep South Vaughan Simmons of Columbia, Miss Dixieland Anna Beth Higginbotham of Hattiesburg, Miss Hattiesburg Kristen Benigno of Laurel and Miss Jones County Kimberly Page of Ellisville.

Akers and Benigno were in the top 10 last year.

The Miss Mississippi 2011 Pageant started with 45 contestants. Two dropped out due to illness and personal reasons.

Four Miss Mississippi winners have won the Miss America title — 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 1986.