Sarah Beth Sewell of Starkville Crowned Miss WCU 2014

Hattiesburg, Miss., February 5, 2013 - Sarah Beth Sewell, a sophomore vocal performance major from Starkville, was crowned Miss William Carey University 2014 at the Miss WCU Scholarship Pageant on February 4. She was also the preliminary talent winner.

Sewell’s platform was about taking care of your skin and knowing the causes/effects of melanoma. Her talent was singing her rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” and her career ambition is to be a professional classical singer, as well as a vocal professor on the college level. She has won first place at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competition, first place in talent at the Mississippi State Fair, and placed as a semi-finalist for classical singers competition in Los Angeles, Cal.

Sewell will represent WCU in the Miss Mississippi Pageant to be held in Vicksburg in July 2014. The daughter of Billy and Beth Sewell, she is a Dean’s List scholar, and a member of Delta Omicron, the Chorale, Carpenter’s Wood, and Carey Company. She is active in church missions, in the Rice and Beans ministry, and volunteers with the Salvation Army. Sewell was crowned by Miss WCU 2013, Jennifer DeMelo of Kenner, La.

R-Reonnia James, a senior nursing major from Wiggins, was named first runner up and preliminary interview winner. Ashley Barding, a senior nursing major from Petal, was named second runner up. Katie Sims, a freshman music education major and accounting major from Purvis, was named third runner up and preliminary evening gown winner. She also received the Amy E. Allen Award for highest Grade Point Average among the contestants.  Fourth runner up was Hannah Taylor, a freshman nursing major from Covington, La.

Each year, one of the contestants receives the Virginia Scott Spirit Award. Voted on by the contestants, this award recognizes the contributions to the Miss WCU pageant by former director Virginia Scott who produced three Miss Mississippi’s, all of whom finished in the top five at their respective Miss America pageants. Hannah Taylor also received the spirit award.

During the pageant, there was a crown drawing for girls between the ages of 4 and 11; the winner was named Honorary Miss Carey. Maddie Smith of Sumrall, 10, was chosen, and crowned on stage by last year’s winner, Elyse Bolling of Petal.

Other contestants were Deborah McNeal of Biloxi and Shybril Tamayo of Meridian. Emcees for the event were Miss Mississippi 2013 Chelsea Rick, who was a student in the WCU College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Kenna Spiller, a junior elementary education major and Miss WCU 2012. Entertainment was provided by Carey Jazz Ensemble and Carey Company, the university’s show choir.

Proceeds from the pageant were donated to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Winners of the 2014 Miss William Carey University Scholarship Pageant are (left to right) R-Reonnia James of Wiggins, first runner up and interview winner; Ashley Barding of Petal, second runner up; Sarah Beth Sewell of Starkville, Miss WCU 2014 and talent winner; Katie Sims of Purvis, third runner up, evening gown winner and Highest GPA, and Hannah Taylor of Covington, La., fourth runner up and Virginia Scott Spirit Award winner.