Kelsey Cummings wins Miss UNCP 2013 title


Kelsey Cummings, a graduate student in music education, was named Miss UNCP 2013 on Jan. 31 during the annual pageant at the Givens Performing Arts Center.


Miss UNCP 2013 Kelsey Cummings

Miss UNCP 2013 Kelsey Cummings

A Pembroke native, Cummings is the first graduate student to win the title in 61 years of the Miss UNCP Scholarship Pageant. She won a $2,000 scholarship, free student housing and a meal plan during her reign as Miss UNCP.

A 2010 UNCP graduate, the new Miss UNCP said, “I have a lot of history with UNCP.

“This is a dream come true because I’ve wanted to be Miss UNCP since I was six years old,” Cummings explained. “In 1994 I danced in the opening number of the Miss Pembroke State University Pageant.”

Cummings, who is a candidate for a Master of Education degree in music education, put her musical talents to work playing “Maple Leaf Rag” on piano during the talent portion of the competition. She also dazzled the audience in the eveningwear competition, wearing a flowing red gown with a train.

A boisterous audience of nearly 1,000 people cheered seven candidates as they vied for the crown. Shanette Monk, a senior art major from Fayetteville was first runner-up and won a $750 scholarship. Brandi Chavis, a junior elementary education major from Lumberton, was second runner-up and took away a $500 scholarship.

It has become a tradition that Miss UNCP contestants bring their own cheering section to the pageant. Cummings’ fans included her sorority sisters from Sigma Sigma Sigma, who let out a deafening collective scream at the announcement of the winner.

“My sisters were really there for me,” Cummings said. “My coworkers at Piney Grove Elementary School also came out to support me.”

The new Miss UNCP said piano is not her only talent. She can sign using American Sign Language, too, and is choral director for her school. Cummings said she enjoyed the pageant, especially the interview segment.

“The interview gave the judges the opportunity to get to know me,” she said. “I wanted them to know that I would be a great Miss UNCP.”

 The new Miss UNCP is flanked by first runner-up Shanette Monk, left, and second runner-up Brandi Chavis.

The new Miss UNCP is flanked by first runner-up Shanette Monk, left, and second runner-up Brandi Chavis.

The evening was a farewell sendoff to Jocelyn Hunt, Miss UNCP 2012. Hunt entertained with a song and hosted the on-stage interview competition.

Hunt, who graduated in December 2012, said it was a year of “many wonderful experiences, and I met so many wonderful people who I will cherish for a lifetime.” Miss UNCP represents the university in many parades and events throughout the region.

Hunt was joined by 12 former Miss UNCPs, who have begun a new tradition of gathering before the pageant. It was a family affair as Miss Pembroke State College of 1967 Karen Gibson Jenkins also served as a judge.

Cynthia Oxendine, executive director of the pageant, congratulated the new Miss UNCP.

“We look forward to working with Kelsey during the next year as she serves as a role model and ambassador for the university,” Oxendine said. “All the contestants did a wonderful job, and the committee is so proud of them. They were great to work with. 

“There’s so much work that goes into producing a quality production—by the committee and the contestants,” Oxendine continued.  “But, it is so worth the effort to see the growth in and camaraderie between the young ladies who compete.”

“The Miss UNCP Scholarship Program is a great opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to earn scholarship monies,” Oxendine said. “We encourage student participation and hope that more students will participate next year.”

The seven contestants competed on-stage in an interview, in casual wear, in eveningwear and in talent.  Comfort Johnson was named Miss Congeniality, which is awarded by vote of the contestants. Kyler Williamson won the Jessica Reed Family Scholarship.

Entertainment was provided by Hunt, emcees Michelle Braxton and Lane Ragsdale, Miss UNCP Outstanding Teens McKenzie Maynor, and Kira Hunt, Miss UNCP Carolina Princess Leilana Morgensen and Miss UNCP Outstanding Teen Elizabeth O’Brien.

For more information about the Miss UNCP Scholarship Pageant, please contact the Office of University Center and Programs at 910.521.6584 or email