She’ll be back: Miss Vicksburg’s Teen looks toward future competitions

Published 7:37 pm Sunday, April 28, 2024

Miss Vicksburg’s Teen Addie Grace Clay still has her eye on the prize. Although she didn’t walk away with the Miss Mississippi’s Teen crown this past weekend, Clay is not letting that small detail get in the way of her future.

At only 13 years old, Clay said she has several more years of eligibility in the teen competition and plans to compete until she wins the title.

“I want to keep competing until I finally win and I’m eligible for four more years,” she said. “So that’s why I started early.”

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The Miss Mississippi website states the teen organization is for girls between 13 and 18 years of age.

And while Clay was on the younger end of the spectrum, her age did not prevent her from making it into the final round of competition, where the top contenders re-compete in all phases of the competition, except the judges’ interview.

This year’s 2024 Miss Mississippi’s Teen Competition had 21 delegates and, of those, 11 moved on to the final round of competition that was held April 21 at the Ardis T. Williams Sr. Auditorium.

Phases of on-stage competition included evening wear, fitness, and talent.

Clay chose to perform HER Story as her talent option, which the Miss America Organization describes as a 90-second personal story shared on stage that touches on one of the four points of the crown or the foundation of the program which is “sisterhood.”

In 2021, Clay suffered a life-threatening brain injury and for HER Story, she shared this experience.

“I fell off of a golf cart and I was unconscious for four-and-a-half days,” she said. She woke up on the Fourth of July.

In preparation for HER Story, Clay said she wrote out what she wanted to say during the talent phase of the competition. Expressing the accident on paper proved to be emotional, she said, as was presenting HER Story on stage.

“I was doing everything I could not to tear up on stage,” Clay said.

Mom, Cori Clay, admitted hearing her daughter reiterate the experience brought tears to her eyes, too.

In addition to sharing HER Story during the competition, Clay has also focused her Community Service Initiative on traumatic brain injuries. She takes care packages to other young people who are experiencing the same trauma she experienced after her accident.

And as Miss Vicskburg’s Teen, she said she would continue promoting her Community Service Initiative.

“I’m gonna go and continue to bring care packages to hospitals, to traumatic brain injury patients and share my story as a traumatic brain injury survivor,” she said, noting her goal is to distribute 1,000 care packages.

Clay said her favorite part of the competition was the health and fitness phase, which might seem obvious given the St. Aloysius eighth-grader is a member of the school’s softball team, junior high basketball team, swim team and is a junior varsity cheerleader.

For the evening gown phase of the competition, Clay wore a pink Sherri Hill couture gown. She said she chose the dress because it “shined on stage” and it was reflective of her character.

“It just fit me really well, not only like fit-wise, but it actually matched my personality,” she said. “And I’m going to wear it until I can’t.”

Along with hanging on to her gown, Clay said she will also be holding on to her competition experience.

“I think the Miss Mississippi organization gives you life skills you will use for the rest of your life.”

Although this was Clay’s first time competing for the teen title, it is not her first time to be on stage with the Miss Mississippi organization. She participated in the Magnolia Belle program, which is a mentorship opportunity designed for young girls, ages seven to 10, who would like to be part of the Miss Mississippi experience. Clay said she was a Belle for three years.

And even before she could participate in the program, Clay said she attended Miss Mississippi Competitions.

“Growing up in Vicksburg, it’s always been a part of my life.”



About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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