The 50th annual Miss Ouachita Baptist University Pageant will be held on Saturday at Jones Performing Arts Center, as eight contestants compete for the title of Miss OBU.
This pageant serves as a preliminary to the Miss Arkansas Scholarship Pageant, so in addition to the scholarship money awarded to Miss OBU, she will also receive the honor of representing Ouachita as she vies for the title of Miss Arkansas.
Since 1967, the Miss OBU scholarship pageant has been a highly respected program throughout Arkansas.
Assisting Executive Director Becky Hartsfield, Ashlee Giles serves as the Miss OBU campus advisor and collaborates with the Student Senate Special Events Committee to plan and execute this esteemed program.
“From day one, Miss OBU has been highly respected in the Miss Arkansas system,” Giles said. “Our very first Miss Ouachita Baptist University, Sharon Evans Bale, won Miss Arkansas 1967. In our first year competing at Miss Arkansas, Ouachita went to the very top! It is an honor for our contestants to follow in the footsteps of these amazing women on and off the stage.”
There have been 10 Ouachita women who have advanced to win the title of Miss Arkansas.
One outstanding individual to whom Giles gives credit for most of the success of this pageant is the late Mac Sisson, former executive director of the Miss OBU Scholarship Pageant. As a student at Ouachita, he was an usher for the contestants in the very first pageant of Miss OBU.
“Literally, from the very first year of Miss OBU, he had a connection with the pageant,” Giles said. “If you talk to any of the former Miss OBUs that were during his era, that’s what they talk about. They talk about Mac and how much he invested in them and how much time he spent with them, helping them prepare for interviews, helping them feel confident, helping them feel beautiful; he was the face behind Miss Ouachita Baptist University.”
Giles is very excited for this year’s pageant and is proud to be a part of such an incredible program. Concerning the eight ladies, Giles said, “I’m so proud of the work the contestants put into preparing, how seriously they take it and ultimately, how well they represent Ouachita. Regardless of whether they win or not, each of these women represent Ouachita beautifully to the audience and to the judges who are behind the scenes asking interview questions. It just makes me so proud to see each of them work hard to accomplish their individual goals.”
Working alongside Giles in the planning process is the Student Senate Special Events Committee. Hannah Bunch, a junior history major from Paragould, is the internal vice president of Student Senate. Committee members go out into the Arkadelphia community and raise money for the program.
“We go to local businesses, and we ask if they’ll buy ads to support the program and scholarships,” Bunch said.
During the week of the pageant, a few committee members will run errands when necessary, help the girls during rehearsals and host the former winners and judges while they visit campus. Other members of the Senate will also volunteer to sell tickets at the door on the night of the pageant.
“I think the cool thing about Senate helping out is that we’re going out and raising scholarship money for these girls,” Bunch said. “That’s a really neat aspect to work with these girls within Senate [because it’s all women on the committee] and seeing them go and help girls that they don’t even know who’s going to win it, but they’re going out raising money so these girls can have scholarships to win.”
Giles complimented the work of Bunch and the other Senate members.
“We absolutely couldn’t do it without Student Senate Special Events Committee,” she said. “They are so helpful. The money that they raise from selling ads helps support the scholarships we will award on Saturday evening.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/MissOuachitaBaptistUniversity or contact Ashlee Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– By Sarah Hays, staff writer