• 72°

Miss Hospitality contest scheduled for March 2

The time has come for young women in the area to start preparingto “Reach for the Stars” in this year’s Brookhaven/Lincoln CountyMiss Hospitality Pageant.

Applications are being accepted now through Feb. 26. Young womenfrom 18 to 24 years old who are residents of Lincoln County andwould like to pursue a piece of the “scholarship pie” areencouraged to enter the contest, which is at 2 p.m. March 2 at theBrookhaven/Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

“Last year we gave away $4,200, and this year we plan to have acomparable amount,” said Kay Burton, one of the eventorganizers.

The pageant is held every year to recognize and assist a localstudent in her journey to further her education. The event consistsof a 10-minute interview with a panel of judges who grade thecontestants on their poise, composure and interview skills. Thereis no talent or swimsuit competition involved with the MissHospitality organization.

“We’re just looking for a girl who has a nice, naturalpersonality. Miss Hospitality is an ambassador for our town and ourcounty,” said Burton, who has been involved with Miss Hospitalityfor a number of years.

While representing the crown at ribbon cuttings and otherimportant events, such as the annual Tour of Homes, MissHospitality will have numerous opportunities to expand her horizonsthroughout the year, said Rita Rich, who also helps organize theevent every year.

Rich was impressed by the incredible activities the 2002Brookhaven/Lincoln County Miss Hospitality Katie Newman got toparticipate in as the local winner and later as becoming thestate’s Miss Hospitality.

“Just by participating in Miss Hospitality, it will change theirlives,” said Newman. “There were so many opportunities I neverwould have had.”

Newman has not only promoted Brookhaven and Lincoln County inher travels, but as the state representative she has been able totravel to other states to promote tourism in Mississippi. She alsoenjoyed the chance to make so many friends from around thestate.

Along with the many adventures that come with being named MissHospitality, event organizers say just being a part of it benefitseach young woman.

“The skills you learn are so valuable down the road,” said Rich,mentioning confidence, stage presence and interview skills as justa few of the areas.

One of the many highlights of being named Miss Hospitality isthe scholarship money and other prizes awarded each year.

“It’s a scholarship program,” Burton explained. “Our goal is tohave a good scholarship package to defray the costs and to helpthem with their education.”

The winner receives the biggest prize, but all contestants areawarded prizes. This year’s Lincoln County winner will also havethe opportunity to meet Gerald McRainey of television’s MajorDad, and Delta Burke, of television’s DesigningWomen. They will both have roles at this year’s statecompetition.

Applications for Miss Hospitality can be picked up and turned inat the Brookhaven/Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce. For moreinformation, contact the Brookhaven/Lincoln County Chamber ofCommerce at 833-1411.