Senior mass communication major Jenna Walters was crowned Miss UNCP 2010 Thursday evening in front of an enthusiastic audience of 1,000 in the Givens Performing Arts Center.
From left: Jenna Walters, Miss UNCP 2010 and Katy Locklear, Miss UNCP 2009
From Raeford, N.C., Walters bested five contestants to win the Miss UNC Pembroke Scholarship Pageant. For the winner, the title brings nearly $5,000 in scholarships and prizes.
For Walters, it will be her second trip to the Miss North Carolina Pageant. As Miss Fayetteville, she competed in the 2007 event.
The 58th annual pageant sported the theme, “I am What I am,” and was a night of star-studded entertainment. Reigning Miss North Carolina Katherine Southard and Miss North Carolina 2000 Lorna Ricotta served as Mistresses of Ceremonies and performed.
Miss UNCP 2009, Katy Helen Locklear, also performed the pageant theme song and delivered the traditional farewell address. Locklear will be remembered as a popular and hard-working queen, who made more than 100 appearances as an ambassador of the University.
Walters set the bar high during the talent portion of the contest when she lit up the audience with a rendition of “Brave.” Walters’ platform is HEARTStrings: Helping Educate and Reach through Song.
“I help children express themselves through music,” she said during the on-stage interview. “I start with their feelings and senses, then we express it with music and song.”
From right: Miss UNCP 2009 Katy Locklear, Miss UNCP 2010 Jenna Walters, 1st Runner-up Arlene Grady, Mary Ann McGirt, 2nd Runner-up Ashton Young, Chelsea Collier and 3rd Runner-up Kelsey Cummings
First Runner-up was Arlene Grady of Spring Hope, N.C.; Second Runner-up was Ashton Young of Garner, N.C.; and Third Runner-up was Kelsey Cummings of Pembroke. Each contestant was awarded a scholarship.
Grady also won the Miss Congeniality Award and Walters won the Jessica Reed Family Community Service Scholarship. Ashton Young won the new Scholastic Achievement Award for the contestant with the highest grade point average.
The talent competition showed off the diverse talents of the six contestants. Cummings played a piano rendition of a Chopin piece and Chelsea Collier of Fayetteville, N.C., played the violin.
Mary Ann McGirt of Laurinburg, N.C., and Young clogged. Clogging may evoke traditional mountain folklore, but this pair took the art form to an all new level in the 21st century.
In the audience were approximately two dozen other queens and princesses who participated in the pageant. Also attending was Alan Clouse, executive director of the Miss North Carolina Pageant.
Clouse said the Miss UNCP Pageant is one of the best attended and most enthusiastic events he has seen. He chatted with the new Miss UNCP afterward.
“This means so much to me,” Walters said. “I wanted to go back (to the Miss North Carolina Pageant) so badly.”
In an interview following the event, Walters said she will “work harder and practice my poise and elegance. I’m ready to go back in the spotlight.”