Miss UNCP Morgan Hunt left with fanfare Saturday for Raleigh, N.C., and the Miss North Carolina Pageant.
Her supporters threw a gala fundraiser on June 11, and a large contingent from Pembroke will be on hand at the BTI Center to cheer her on during the competition June 21-25.
In an interview on the eve of her departure, the 22-year-old Hunt declared herself ready.
“I’m excited, and I feel prepared,” she said. “I’ve been preparing since January for this.”
For the 2005 Miss UNCP, it has been a seven-day a week regimen in the gym and drinking lots of water.
“I do cardio three days a week and then two days on lower body and two days on upper body,” Hunt said. “You prepare the hardest for the swimsuit competition, and you’re only on stage for 30 seconds.”
With an active lifestyle, Hunt said the swimsuit competition may be her favorite in the competition. She will be strong in the talent competition too.
“I also enjoy entertaining a lot, and I have a great song in ‘Mr. Paganini,’” she said.
The training, both physical and mental, has been thorough. Years of voice lessons and weeks of daily training for the interview portion of the competition are behind her now.
The campus community is very excited about Hunt’s chances, said Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
“This has been Morgan’s lifelong dream, and she is an outstanding candidate,” Dr. Jones said. “She worked hard and has a strong background.”
That background includes Little Miss, Junior Miss and Miss Lumbee titles to go with winning the Miss UNCP title last January.
One aspect of this pageant that Hunt takes to heart is her platform, diabetes awareness. A senior, health promotions major with plans for graduate school, Hunt hopes to become a certified diabetes educator.
Gala sendoff – From left: Mark and Michelle Oxendine, Dr. Jeff and Sybil Collins, Morgan, Kellie and Jonathan Blue and Vickie and Dr. Joey Bell. Not pictured from the organizing committee were Dr. Diane Jones, Gary and Hope Strickland and Vickie Ransom.
This spring, she raised an estimated $10,000 for local and national diabetes causes, as well as organizing diabetes education programs on and off campus. Hunt also brought Miss America 1999 Nicole Johnson Baker, who is a diabetic, to campus for a motivational talk.
“My grandmother and several other family members died from diabetes, and my mother has it also,” Hunt said. “It’s personal.”
Hunt started the Delora Locklear Diabetes Foundation to honor her grandmother and fight the disease. The June 11 gala in Hunt’s honor also raised money for her work.
The pageant kicks off Tuesday, June 21with the swimsuit competition, followed by evening gown competition on Wednesday, talent on Thursday, interview on Friday and the top 10 finalists square off on Saturday, June 25.
In Morgan Hunt, UNCP and the Pembroke community are represented by a talented, experienced, well prepared and committed contestant.