Miss USM to be crowned Saturday

Miss USM to be crowned Saturday

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi.

Student participants in the 71st annual Miss University of Southern Mississippi Pageant have a new standard to aspire to, with last year's winner Hannah Roberts going on to win the Miss Mississippi Pageant and finishing as first runner-up in the Miss America Pageant.

Roberts, along with former Miss Mississippi Chalie Ray, will serve as emcees for this year's pageant, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Mannoni Performing Arts Center on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus. General admission is $7 and $5 for students.

The event, hosted and produced by the Southern Miss Student Government Association, is a preliminary to the Miss Mississippi Pageant. Kristen Dupard, who succeeded Roberts as Miss University of Southern Mississippi, will crown the winner.

Dupard said the Miss University of Southern Mississippi Pageant is not about beauty alone. "We're not just looking for a pretty face to represent the University, but someone with character, intelligence and accomplishments," she said.

Contestants in this year's Miss University of Southern Mississippi Pageant include:

*Bethany Noelle Cuevas, a child and family studies major from Long Beach, Miss.
*Anna Taggart, an elementary education major from Raymond, Miss.
*Taylor Robbins, a biochemistry major from Bay Minette, Ala.
*Caitlin Olson, a fashion merchandising major from Gulfport, Miss.
*Tiffany Forrest, a special education major from New Orleans
*Piper Leith, a business major from Long Beach, Miss.
*Macy Mitchell, a communications studies major from Petal, Miss.
*Mia Hall, a vocal performance major from Meridian, Miss.
*Lakesha Pittman, a psychology major from Byram, Miss.

For more information about the pageant, contact the Southern Miss Student Government Association at 601.266.4407; or the Dean of Students Office at 601.266.6028.

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For the last 10 weeks, Kristen Dupard has held the Miss USM crown since Hannah Roberts became Miss Mississippi back in July.

"You know this pageant has really elevated the level of the caliber that young ladies have to aspire to," Dupard said. "Pageants, they're not just about a pretty face, they are about the quality and intellect of the individual, someone that can really represent this university and I'm just so excited that I had the opportunity and I'm just blessed to be able to pass that opportunity on to someone else."