Contestants arrive for Miss Mississippi Volunteer Pageant

The pageant offers more than $120,000 in scholarship money

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – As they arrived at the Performing Arts Center at Tupelo High School, each contestant was “sashed” by the newly crowned Miss Volunteer America Hannah Perrigin. This time last year, Perrigin won Miss Mississippi Volunteer.

“For this week, I want to encourage all the girls, the teens and misses to make friends. They will get exactly what they’re looking for this week, whether it’s stepping out on faith, making new friends, doing something that scares them, that’s where growth truly comes from,” Perrigin said.

The Miss Mississippi Volunteer pageant is a nonprofit, service-based organization that focuses on providing women with educational scholarships and life-changing opportunities. Contestants will compete in private interviews, fitness and wellness, talent, and evening gown.

“We are about creating a wonderful young woman that has everything. We are giving them the skills they need for life; interview skills are impactful,” said Steve Stockton, one of the organizers of the Mississippi Volunteer Pageant.

Scholarship dollars are a big reason many enter this competition. The pageant also emphasizes volunteerism and every contestant has a platform that helps their communities.

“‘Food for Thought’ is about eradicating food insecurity in Mississippi,” said Landry Payne, Miss MUW Volunteer.

“My platform is ‘Earth Called Earth Empowered’, and it’s about teaching individuals how to adopt sustainable habits into everyday lives,” said Josie Nasekos, Miss Golden Triangle Volunteer.

“My platform is the ‘Magnolia Movement’, and it gives me the opportunity to volunteer with a variety of age groups, pre-schoolers, special needs, all the way to seniors at nursing homes,” said Evans Rhett, Miss Magnolia Volunteer.

“My platform is ‘Born to Be Different’, and it is special needs awareness, celebrating the uniqueness of special needs,” said Miss New Albany Volunteer Allyson Beard.

“My platform is ‘Feeding Minds, Helping End Childhood Hunger’. I’m working on a book which is about a squirrel who goes to school and one of her friends doesn’t have food at recess, so she makes a closet and her family owns a farm and she produces food for that little boy at school,” said Katelynn Kirkendall, Miss Oxford Teen Volunteer.

“My platform is ‘Give to Live’. My granddad had cancer, blood cancer, and I would like to have blood donors, people to give blood, it’s a selfless act you can do to save lives, #givetolive,” said Ana Grace McGonagill, Miss Monroe County Volunteer.

Miss Mississippi Volunteer and Miss Mississippi Teen Volunteer will be crowned on July 8.

Miss Mississippi Volunteer will also serve as the official spokesperson of the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s DRIVE campaign, which teaches safe driving skills to teenagers.

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