Miss Mississippi College seeks to help homeless

Miss Mississippi Courtney Parella

Miss Mississippi Courtney Parella

Courtney Parella is thrilled to wear the crown as the new Mississippi College, and she pledges to work to combat homelessness in the USA as her platform in 2013.

“I am beyond blessed to have been a part of the Miss MC Pageant with all of the beautiful contestants,” Courtney said less than 24 hours after the judges selected her for the honor on the Clinton campus.

A junior from Grenada, Miss., and graduate of Kirk Academy, Parella impressed the judges with her musical talents on stage at Swor Auditorium. The Deltan sang “I Dreamed A Dream’’ from the movie Les Miserables, and now gets to live her dream as Miss MC and a contestant in the Miss Mississippi Pageant in Vicksburg later this year.

Being in the spotlight with hundreds of people looking on doesn’t seem to bother Courtney one bit. “I love being on stage and performing.’’

There were six Mississippi College students competing for the title on January 31st.  A marketing major with career plans to become a pharmaceutical representative, Parella was sponsored at the pageant by the Kissimmee Social Tribe.

During the months ahead, Courtney will speak about the needs of homeless people in Mississippi, the nation’s poorest state, and other parts of the USA. She wants to make her platform, homeless ministries, much more visible in the community. It may open the door to greater funding to help with their needs, she said.

Courtney succeeds 2012 Miss Mississippi College Taylor Townsend of Flowood.  Since Taylor was thousands of miles away in England taking classes in Mississippi College’s London Semester Program, Taylor’s mother, Dr. Cindy Townsend, crowned the 2013 titleholder Thursday night. An educator at Jackson Prep, a minister to women and students, and an inspirational speaker, Cindy Townsend served as Miss Mississippi College in 1981.

Besides her work to prepare for  the Miss Mississippi Pageant, Courtney also will sing the National Anthem at the annual Clinton/Mississippi College Night with the Mississippi Braves at Trustmark Park on Monday April 8. It’s the first homestand of the 2013 season for the M-Braves.

Other contestants in the annual scholarship pageant on the Clinton campus included interior design major Nikki Rhea of Houston, Texas, foreign language & international trade major Hannah Fletcher of St. Francisville, La., English major Tori Crosby of Gulfport, Kelly O’Mahoney, an exercise science major from Mandeville, La. and nursing major Sarah-Kate Rowan of Clinton.

All of the contestants worked hard at rehearsals the past three weeks and improved their interviewing skills to get ready, Fletcher said. “It was great to see it all come together so smoothly. My favorite part was probably the opening because we got to start off the show with a bang,’’ she said. “Honestly, I enjoyed it all.’’

MC students Ashley Dillard of Memphis and Caleb Jett of Brandon served as the show’s co-hosts. Ashley says staff director Dannie Woods and student directors Katelyn Williams and Molly Roberts deserve much of the credit for making this year’s pageant such a success. The Roaring 20s was the pageant theme.

“The room had a sense of pure elegance and the contestants looked flawless,’’ Dillard said. “Each of the six ladies brought their own flavor to the competition.’’

–Submitted by Mississippi College Public Relations


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