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Miss Mississippi just beginning her journey, will say farewell Saturday night

VICKSBURG — Since the age of seven, Anne Elizabeth Buys has been part of the Miss Mississippi Pageant organization, so when she was crowned Miss Mississippi last year, a goal she had aspired to had finally come to fruition.

And to make wearing the crown and title that much sweeter for the Vicksburg native, it all happened on the 60th anniversary of the Miss Mississippi Pageant being held in her hometown.

“Winning the pageant on the anniversary year just marked the beginning of an incredible journey,” Buys said, which has included covering every part of the state while traveling more than 26,000 miles.

And when people ask Buys what has been the highlight of the year, she said it has been the people she met.

“The people of Mississippi are truly incredible and I won’t forget them. They have all been inspiring and I am just so thankful God allowed this to be part of my journey,” she said.

Some of these people Buys met, she said, included the children at the Batson Children’s Hospital.

“Batson visits changed me because you meet kids who are facing life threatening situations, but they are happy and joyful and have a smile on their face,” she said, adding, “That teaches you so much, because we have so much to be thankful for with our health and should not complain about the little things.”

Another highlight of any Miss Mississippi’s reign is competing in the Miss America Pageant and this held true for Buys.

“This was the most amazing experience. If I could have painted a perfect picture of what I wanted my experience to be, it would have surpassed it,” she said.

“Every single part of being at Miss America for those two weeks was perfect. The friendships I made and the confidence I gained. I loved getting to experience Atlantic City. I loved the rehearsals, and I loved getting to perform my dance on the Miss America stage. And after working so hard to prepare for every aspect of competition, I truly felt I performed my best in every aspect.”

Buys’ journey as Miss Mississippi will end on Saturday night when she crowns her successor and in the fall, she will return to Mississippi State University, where she is pursuing a career in either the sports or political broadcasting fields.

With both parents being involved in the Miss Mississippi Pageant Organization — Buys’ father is a former executive director and her mother a fourth runner-up to Miss Mississippi — Buys said she too, plans to continue her involvement with the organization.

“I don’t look at this as the end with my involvement with the Miss Mississippi Pageant Organization or Miss America Organization,” Buys said. “I plan to be back as a volunteer or participating as an entertainer or emcee. I plan to continue because it is something that is a part of me. This organization allowed me to become a more well-rounded individual. And I definitely am going to give back to something that has given me so much.”