8 USM students in Miss Mississippi Pageant

HATTIESBURG, MS (THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI) – Eight University of Southern Mississippi students are participating as contestants in this week's Miss Mississippi Pageant in Vicksburg, including Kristen Benigno, a junior speech communication major from Laurel who won the Miss University of Southern Mississippi Pageant last fall.

The winner of the event will be announced Saturday, July 10 at 8 p.m. the Vicksburg Convention Center. Locally, WDAM-TV will deliver a live broadcast of the crowning of the new Miss Mississippi.

Other contestants include:

  • Jill Duckworth, Miss Spirit of the South, a junior speech communication major from Clinton.
  • Maggie Evans, Miss Riverbend, a graduate biological sciences/education student from Louin.
  • Lyndsay Pleas, Miss Hattiesburg, a junior healthcare marketing major from D'Lo.
  • Kellis McSparrin, Miss Clinton, a graduate theater and dance student from Clinton.
  • Lee Armstrong, Miss Coastal Waters, a senior human performance and recreation major from Columbus.
  • Chataura Harper, Miss Jones County, a senior mass communication and journalism major from Laurel.
  • Ann Claire Reynolds, Miss Dixieland, a sophomore psychology major from Petal.

The Southern Miss Student Government Association (SGA) sponsors the Miss University of Southern Mississippi pageant. Since 1998, six Southern Miss students have earned the crown as Miss Mississippi, including 2008 winner Christine Kozlowski.

"Our students are making a very strong and positive showing at the pageant and are representing our university wonderfully," said Southern Miss Associate Dean of Students Brooks Moore, who is attending the pageant in support of the participants from the university. Moore also serves as the local director for the Miss University of Southern Mississippi Pageant.

"They are excited about the pageantry of the Miss Mississippi experience and have been celebrating each aspect of the weeklong festivities," he said.

For more information on the pageant, including a biographical sketch of the contestants and a complete listing of cable television networks broadcasting the event, online visit http://www.missmississippipageant.com/

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