The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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A Preview of Miss UNA 2024: A Golden Legacy

Izzy Smith

On Jan. 20, the University of North Alabama will celebrate the 50th annual Miss UNA Program with the theme “Miss UNA: A Golden Legacy.” The pageant contest includes eighteen participants to compete first in an opening number, followed by onstage questions, the health and fitness category, the talent show, and evening gowns. 

The core of the program is well-described by friendship, solidarity, and a sense of community, as explained by contestant Jada Winston, a freshman from Pelham, Ala..

“I remember having so much fun with my friends and dressing up like a princess,” Winston said. “My parents nicknamed me ‘Princess Jada,’ so this is an opportunity to bring the name to life.” 

The contestant also mentions she is preparing for the pageant day by approaching it with “an open mind and clear heart.”

Dr. Lloyd E. Jones, the Director of Bands at UNA and professional musician, is preparing the Jazz band, which has supported the pageant with music for forty-five years. The band will provide an “opening number, segues, entertainment, special background music, fanfares, and features.” The show will begin with the energetic swing “Sing, Sing, Sing” by the American Louis Prima, with a “special new arrangement” the director and musician created only for the event. Jones mentions other songs featured are “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” by Sammy Cahn, “Undecided” by Duke Ellington, and “C’est si Bon” by Henri Bessi. 

Dr. Jones also enthusiastically shared what the audience can look forward to, “Combined with the wonderful organizational efforts of the pageant director, Ms. Rebecca Bush and her staff, and the top-notch lighting, sound, and stage decor provided by the Norton Technical Crew directed by Mr. Ethan Franks, audience members can expect to be thoroughly entertained and witness a first-rate production well-worth their time.”

With the start of the new year, UNA says goodbye to Lauren B. Vance, the junior Chemistry major, mostly known as Miss UNA 2023. Vance proudly spent her time as Miss UNA serving and representing the university’s community. She mentioned the highest fortune of the crown as being able to travel to Montgomery, AL, to be recognized by the floor of the House of Representatives for her “The Two-Hour Challenge” initiative and given a resolution for it. The Miss’ project revolves around a daily two-hour break from one’s cell phone where they are challenged to spend time in an “off-line” activity to enhance life quality.

“[The crown] was the honor of a lifetime,” as she mentioned, “[I] will be sad to see the year come to a close, but [I] am beyond thrilled to see the bright future of this program.” Vance claims she deeply knows the next Miss UNA will carry “this cherished legacy” and hopes she “knows I am in her corner (…) [being] her biggest cheerleader.”

The future holds Miss UNA 2023 great expectations, too. Of the forty-eight women who have worn the Miss UNA crown, three have received the title of Miss Alabama: Pamela K. Long (1974), Susie Vaughn (1975), and Pam Battles (1983). Vance is currently working to be the fourth.

The evening of the pageant contest will generate an experience the participants will carry for the rest of their lives, “it will be an exciting and memorable evening,” said Lauren Vance.

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About the Contributors
Manuela Ludolf
Manuela Ludolf, Staff Writer
Izzy Smith
Izzy Smith, Lead Graphic Designer
Izzy Smith is a freshman from Tupelo, Miss. She is pursuing a B.F.A. in Digital Media and a minor in HCI/UX Design. She volunteered with the Flor-Ala in the Fall semester of 2023. She is somewhat excited to "make mediocre art" for the newspaper as the lead graphic designer.

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