Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OCU Students to Be in Miss Oklahoma Pageant in Tulsa

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

OCU Students to Be in Miss Oklahoma Pageant in Tulsa

Article excerpt

Nine Oklahoma City University students will participate this week in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant in Tulsa.

The private university can formally present only one participant in the competition that ultimately leads to the Miss America Pageant: senior Annalise Freeman, originally from North Richland Hills, Texas, who won OCU's qualifying event. The other eight women won their tiaras in regional pageants.

But Darwina Marshall, executive director and president of the Miss OCU Pageant, said all of the students are valuable representatives of the school and deserve its support. She's proud to accompany such a large group of contenders, Marshall said.

The university will have a significant presence in a field of 43 contestants. Pageant events will start Saturday and will continue daily until the finals June 11.

"We're excited to show the rest of the state why we have such a strong reputation of having the most gifted and hardworking students," Marshall said. "These young women have been preparing for this contest for many years, and I think each has an excellent chance to win."

The university is proud of its status as a magnet of pageant participants - a press release from the OCU marketing department said OCU has been fondly dubbed "Miss America U" for its tradition of winning pageants.

That's because OCU has produced 24 Miss Oklahoma winners and three Miss Americas - Jane Jayroe, Susan Powell and Shawntel Smith. Kelsey Cartwright in 2008 was the latest OCU student to win the state contest. And the current Miss America Outstanding Teen, Lacy Russ from Cordell, held the title of Miss OCU Teen in 2009.

The size of this year's group is standard for the university, too. Last year 10 state-level competitors were OCU students.

Marshall said participation in the pageant circuit provides life- building skills that will benefit adult students throughout their careers in almost any professional field. …

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