Miss Southern Hospitality slated for Aug. 26
By Lauren Lee
For the Enquirer
The second annual Miss Southern Hospitality is slated to return to Hartselle High School Aug. 26. A fundraiser for the Hartselle High School band, the competition is open to girls and women ages 7-28 with scholarship opportunities available for winners.
Susan Persall is part of the Hartselle Band Boosters and an organizer for the competition.
“We were looking to do something a little different, a little out of the box. We thought about doing a scholarship pageant because we thought that would be a good idea to get more girls, but then we realized that there was the Miss Alabama system and so it just kind of evolved into that. So we became a prelim for Miss Alabama,” Persall said.
The competition has three divisions for girls to enter depending on their age: Rising Stars for ages 7-11, Miss Southern Hospitality Teen for ages 13-18 and Miss Southern Hospitality for ages 18-28.
Persall said the competition goes beyond just a beauty pageant. In addition to raising funds for the band boosters to cover instruments, travel expenses and other necessities for the band, the competition challenges contestants and allows them to compete for valuable scholarships.
“It’s so much more than just a beauty pageant, it’s a scholarship opportunity. Actually their interviews are judged at a higher percentage than the evening gown walk. Our winner wins $1,000, and our runner up wins $500, then those winners proceed either to the state team or the state Miss Alabama program where they compete for scholarships there,” Persall said.
In addition to the standard pageantry, the contestants will participate in interviews and write a social impact statement to share with the judges. Persall says it is a way to evaluate the contestants’ knowledge on current events and to determine their personal speaking abilities.
“Each girl picks something that they have a cause for – some do pediatric cancer, some do epilepsy and so on. They pick their social impact and they have to write a statement on that and then they answer one question on stage that comes from their resume or their social impact statement. In front of the judge, it’s anything from hot topics to current events. They want girls that are well spoken and aware of what’s going on,” Persall said.
The Rising Stars portion of the competition is a new opportunity available at Miss Southern Hospitality this year and open to ages 7-11. Each of the contestants will have the opportunity to walk on stage with the older competitors and will go home with a sash or crown. Persall says each of the Miss Southern Hospitality and Miss Southern Hospitality Teen winners will also be assigned two of the Rising Stars for a mentorship program over the next year where they’ll attend state competitions together and more.
Registration for contestants is due Aug. 11 and can be completed at www.misssouthernhospitality,com. Rising Stars registration is $40, registration is $100 for the teen competition and a $50 no show deposit is required for the Miss competition.
The competition will also be open to the public with a $20 admission fee that includes the program. Times for spectators will be announced at a later date once registration has closed.
For more information and any questions, families are encouraged to email email@example.com.
“Our winner last year, Abby, even though she didn’t win Miss Alabama walked away with close to $6,000 in scholarship money just for competing. It’s a huge opportunity for these girls to win scholarship money,” Persall said.