Barnes named Miss UNA 2016

Junior Jocelyn Barnes takes her first walk as Miss UNA 2016 Jan. 23. Eighteen women competed for the crown in Norton Auditorium.

Anxious silence filled Norton Auditorium Jan. 23 as the contestants of the 2016 Miss UNA Scholarship Pageant lined the stage and awaited the announcement of the winner. While 18 young women competed for the crown, only junior Jocelyn Barnes received the title Miss UNA 2016.

The crowd erupted in cheers as Miss UNA 2015 Rachel Wammack crowned Barnes.

Barnes said this was her third year competing in the pageant.

“I actually prayed a lot before, and I just asked God to give me peace and let me have the ability to do my best,” Barnes said. “So, I had a very peaceful calm about myself.”

Barnes said she is passionate about her platform, “Lupus Awareness ‘No Lupus.’”

“Your platform has to mean everything to you,” Barnes said. “Be ready to work, but don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Barnes said.

Barnes competed in Miss UNA in 2015 and won the People’s Choice Award, as well as being named third runner-up.

She is involved in many organizations on campus including Student Orientation Advisement Registration, Phi Mu Sorority, Student Government Association and Film Club.

Any UNA woman thinking about competing in the pageant should give it a try, she said.

Junior Victoria Roose was the first runner-up.

This is Roose’s third year competing in the pageant. Her platform was, “Empowerment of the Arts in Music.”

Roose said her favorite part of competing in the pageant was bonding with her fellow contestants.

Senior Mary Katherine Holloway was the second runner-up.

Holloway’s platform was, “R-word: Spread the Word to End the Word.”

When she graduates, she said she hopes to travel to foreign countries to teach children with special needs.

Freshman Harper Brooke Canaday was third runner-up.

Canaday’s platform was, “Dangers of Hypoxic Training,” which warns of the risks associated with underwater breath holding exercises.

Senior Jovonne Baker won Miss Congeniality for the third year.

The title is awarded to the contestant who offers the most support to her fellow competitors and maintains a positive, cheerful attitude throughout the competition.

Baker said she encourages all women who are considering competing in the pageant to put themselves out there and give it a shot.

“Be yourself, be true to who you are and if you didn’t win do it again next year,” Baker said.

Junior Whitney Brown won the University Bookstore Outstanding Service Award.

Brown’s platform was, “Safe at Home.”

The pageant audience determines the People’s Choice Award by placing money in bags labeled with each contestant’s name.

Junior Candice Short won the

People’s Choice Award. Her bag contained $65.

Short’s platform was, “Get Proactive ‘Own Your Life.’”

“My favorite part in the pageant was getting to see everyone’s talents because those girls are the most talented group of girls and also seeing Jocelyn win because there’s not a more deserving person,” Wammack said.

Master of Ceremonies M. Fletcher Brown said it was a huge honor to be invited to host the Miss UNA pageant at his alma mater.

Brown serves as the operations manager for Big River Broadcasting. He also is the program director and radio personality for KIX 96.1.

Brown said he enjoyed watching the contestants perform.

“I was very impressed with all of them here tonight,” Brown said. “There were some really great performances.”

But the contestants weren’t the only ones putting on a show.

Dance groups from All-Starz Dance Academy performed, as well as the UNA Studio Jazz Band.

The young girls of Rising Stars got their chance to curtsy in the spotlight as they met their mentors on stage. The mentors were Miss UNA contestants.

Wammack wowed the crowd with a melody of “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker and “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston.

Junior Bryant Mcgee said his favorite part of the pageant was the talent competition.

Sophomore Jessica Coffey said she enjoyed the talent part as well, particularly Lauren Blue’s tap dance routine.