Jocelyn Hunt, a senior public relations major, was crowned Miss UNCP 2012 on February 2 with a crowd of approximately 1,200 looking on in the Givens Performing Arts Center.
Hunt demonstrated the talent and poise of a contender for the Miss North Carolina crown, which she will compete for in June. An appreciative and boisterous crowd watched for two-and-a-half hours before the new queen was crowned.
The 60th anniversary edition of the Miss UNCP Scholarship Pageant featured entertainment from former queens, including Karen Jenkins, Miss Pembroke State College 1966. She performed a tap routine to the music “Jump Joint.”
“The pageant was different in 1966,” Jenkins said. “Students voted among five finalists, and we were crowned at a homecoming basketball game. I guess I was homecoming queen, too.”
Jenkins along with Teresa Oxendine, Miss Pembroke State University 1974; Kristy Woods Billings, Miss Pembroke State University 1989; Morgan Hunt Warriax, Miss UNCP 2005; and Jamee Hunt, Miss UNCP 2008, warmed up the audience, which included dozens of visiting queens and princesses and their crowns.
UNCP’s pageant is getting a great deal of respect for its large crowds and professional management, as Miss North Carolina Pageant executive director Beth Knox noted. “We have 30 to 35 preliminary pageants each year, and this is my favorite,” she said. “This crowd is so fantastic.”
Pageant emcee Miss North Carolina 2011 Hailey Best agreed. “I heard this would be like a rock concert, and they were right,” she said.
A Raeford, N.C., resident, Hunt showed confidence in the on-stage interview. Dr. Diane Jones, the retiring executive director of the pageant, said Hunt had the strongest interview in preliminary competition that she has witnessed. Dr. Jones has worked with the pageant since 1989.
“She nailed her interview,” Dr. Jones said. “Jocelyn has pageant experience, and she will be a strong contender for the Miss North Carolina crown. We are looking forward to Raleigh.”
UNCP Chancellor Kyle R. Carter gave Dr. Jones roses and showered her with praise. The 34-year veteran UNCP administrator and vice chancellor for Student Affairs announced her retirement the morning of the event.
“This is a special night for many reasons,” Dr. Carter said. “The woman who has meant so much to this pageant for many years, Dr. Diane Jones, announced her retirement earlier today. Diane will be sorely missed by the university community.”
Dr. Jones enjoyed the evening. “It was a memorable night with a lot of history,” she said. “This was a talented group of contestants and a very nice production.”
Hunt won a $1,000 scholarship, housing and a meal plan for her year as Miss UNCP. She will also receive a wardrobe allowance for the Miss North Carolina pageant.
First runner-up was Saudia Horton, a biology major from Pleasant Garden, N.C. She won a $500 scholarship.
Second runner-up was Arlene Grady, an art education major from Spring Hope, N.C. She won a $300 scholarship. Grady also won Miss Congeniality and the Jessica Reed Family Community Service Award.
Chasity Chavis, Miss UNCP 2011, crowned Hunt after giving a farewell performance. Among the many performances, Best and fellow emcee, Michelle Braxton, sang. Former Miss UNCP and the 1999 Miss North Carolina Rebecca Revels sang a duet with Patrick Strickland.
Former Miss Pembroke State Colleges, Miss Pembroke State Universities and Miss UNCPs returned for the 60th anniversary event. Returning queens included: Rosa Dial Woods 1952, Mary Pinchbeck Teets 1955, Flora Locklear Scott 1957, Judy Locklear Lowery 1962, Karen Gibson Jenkins, 1966, Mary Covington Baker 1968, Cynthia Brown 1973, Teresa Oxendine 1974, Kathy Gooden Cates 1982, Kristy Woods-Billings 1989, Eustacia Lowry Jones 1990, Renee Steele 1991, Dana Lowery Ramseur 1993, Lisa Mitchell Belcher 1996, Hilca Rosario-Casado Lewis 1998, Jessica Reed 2000, Morgan Hunt Warriax 2005, Deidra Locklear 2007, and Jamee Hunt 2008.
It wasn’t all glamour and crowns. The former queens also raised $12,910 for the Miss UNCP Scholarship. Alumni Director Renee Steele, who was Miss PSU 1991, organized the raffle.
On a sad note, the pageant was dedicated to the late Florence Ransom, a long-time volunteer.
For more information about the Miss UNCP Scholarship Pageant, please contact Teresa Bryant at 910.521.6899 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.