Hostesses with the most: Miss Mississippi volunteers make competition tick

Published 8:36 am Sunday, June 2, 2024

Vicksburg has been home to the Miss Mississippi Competition since 1958. During those nearly seven decades of hosting the event, an untold amount of volunteer hours have been amassed.

And whether serving as the executive director or just in a small way, each volunteer is essential to the success of the competition. There is one group of volunteers, however, that provides a unique service — the Miss Mississippi hostesses.

These women are chauffeurs for the contestants; they will scavenger for forgotten essentials or run an errand if needed; and, on occasion, will even provide a shoulder to cry on. Some have referred to Miss Mississippi hostesses as surrogate mothers and that sentiment rings true. From the moment the contestants arrive in the River City until the winner is crowned, Miss Mississippi hostesses are right there to take care of and watch over their respective contestants.

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

Mary Beth Grogan-White, who serves as the hostess director said, “It takes a special bond of ladies who work tirelessly to care for these young ladies during pageant week.”

This year, 28 women will be serving in some capacity as Miss Mississippi hostesses.

Jeanine Hanks is serving as the assistant director, and hostesses who will be assigned contestants are: Kim Barnes; Marla Bonelli; Carole Campbell; Cissy Carter; Janell Thames; Lori Fagan; Lana Fuller; Lynn Swett Gerhardt; Torri Ghrigsby; Amy Jackson; Dinnie Johnston; Karla McHan; Marlene McLaurin; Rhonda Minor; Cyndee Nash; Stephanie Stirgus; Johnna Riddick; Laura Winkler; and Ginney White.

Those who are floaters — serving where necessary — are Nancy Ballard; Nancy Bell; Carol Duncan; Madge Finney; Ann Morris; Cissy Carter; and Lynn Baker.


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.’

email author More by Terri Cowart