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Miss Mississippi State Laura Lee Lewis goes for the crown

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Laura Lee Lewis has a photo shoot with Champ, the biggest celebrity on campus, while serving as Miss Mississippi State University.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Laura Lee Lewis has a photo shoot with Champ, the biggest celebrity on campus, while serving as Miss Mississippi State University.

For Laura Lee Lewis, serving as Miss Mississippi State University is about more than competing in the Miss Mississippi pageant next week. Her title gives her the opportunity to represent both her university and her hometown.

“The entire community has been so supportive throughout this entire process and so has Mississippi State,” Lewis said.

Over the years, Lewis has become an expert in these pageants. In 2009, she served as Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen. Last year, she was named second alternate as Miss West Central in the 2013 Miss Mississippi pageant. This year, Lewis hopes to capture the crown.

Laura Lee Lewis

Laura Lee Lewis

“I’m going back, and hopefully I can bring a crown back to Brookhaven,” she said.

Lewis’s talent will be singing “A Piece of the Sky” as performed by Barbara Streisand in “Yentl.” She said it serves as a homage to Brookhaven because the competition is not about her. Without the support from all those in Brookhaven, she would have been unable to overcome the obstacles she faced on her journey to Miss Mississippi.

In the song, the chorus says “Papa, can you hear me?” “Papa, can you see me?” “Papa, watch me fly.” To Lewis what she really is singing is “Community, can you hear me?” “Community, can you see me?”

“Watch me fly, Community, with what you have given me, and thank you,” she said.

Lewis’s platform is “Mentors Matter!” – an effort she has implemented in the Brookhaven School District.

Lewis said Marlene Cupit and Danita Hobbs helped her get the program underway. Her efforts have helped to raise $5,000 in community donations and have secured $30,000 for curriculum resources.

“My job is to inspire others to mentor,” she said.

Lewis attributes her inspiration came from Pam Fearn, Lewis’s principal at Brookhaven Elementary School.

“If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be going to Miss Mississippi,” she said.

Lewis has also had the opportunity to participate in many events by holding the Miss Mississippi State University title. The highlight has been having a one-on-one photo shoot with Champ, the mascot.

“Oh my gosh, he is the cutest thing ever,” she said. “We’re best friends now.”

Lewis also throughout the first pitch against Texas A&M and received a baseball signed by all the players and coach John Cohen. Being present at the Egg Bowl as was a highlight.

“Everyone knows my dad is a big Ole Miss fan,” she said, “and to watch him walk out with his head down.”

Lewis has also had a very generous sponsor in Deep South Pout. For any event she has had to attend, they have given her clothing, jewelry and shoes.

“They have been so generous, and I just thank Deep South Pout.”

Lewis anticipates being most nervous during the calling of the top five.

“It’s in the judges’ hands at that point,” she said. “If it’s in His will to happen, I’ll be bringing home a crown that night.”

Lewis expressed gratitude for all those who have helped her, including Kay Burton, Linda Moak and Matt Hall.

“I am so grateful for their support,” she said, “and if I left anyone out, I apologize.”

But above all, she is grateful for the time she has been able to spend with her family.

“They’ve sacrificed countless hours,” she said. “I’m thankful for being a part of my family and being a part of Brookhaven.”

Lewis will spend the week in Vicksburg in preparation for the event. She will attend autograph signings, a parade, a luncheon, rehearsals. She will also have a 10-minute interview Monday. The pageant runs from Wednesday to Friday. Lewis has chosen Rainey Welch and Anna Kate Hall as her princesses. They will be crowned today and will also participate in the parade.