This year’s Miss UK crowned after an evening of poise and pageantry


Miss Kentucky tiara

Kayla Coco

Fathers, boyfriends and brothers sat among a chattering crowd of roughly 300 on Sunday evening. They sat in the seats of the Singletary Center clutching fresh roses in hand in support of the young women’s various platforms.

The Miss Kentucky Pageant, which has taken place since 2012, began with the vocals of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and a ceremonial parade of contestants. It ended with each 2017 title holder passing a crown to the smiling face of a new winner.

Miss Wildcat Country was awarded to Taylor Parks. Then, Miss Lexington was given to Alex Francke. Finally, Molly Morgan was crowned Miss University of Kentucky 2018.

Each young woman stood smiling as the heavy curtain fell, knowing that their philanthropic efforts were giving back in a much bigger way to their community.

The Pi Beta Phi sorority sponsored the event. Maddie Roy, the chapter president said “half of the proceeds are donated to the Pi Beta Phi Foundation,” a foundation to end illiteracy.

Kourtney Wahl, a senior in health care communications and business, as well as former Miss Fayette County, elaborated on the philanthropic qualities that accompanied the talent behind every competitor.

Wahl said that the winner could “get the chance to win up to $55,000 in cash scholarships for Miss Kentucky this summer.” Each contestant was also required to raise a minimum $100 for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Children’s Miracle Network, or CMN, is the Miss America Organization’s philanthropy. According to CMN’s website, fundraising on part of the pageant has helped contribute to filling financial gaps in insurance programs covering care.

The competition was divided into four different portions to showcase each woman’s style and overall commitment to her platform.

The first portion was on fitness and lifestyle, with the women portraying their wellness and personality in bathing suits.

Next, the contestants showed off their talents to the judges, with a focus on stage presence and preparedness. This portion was individualistic to each girl, with some dancing and singing, while others filled the room with the melodic stroking of piano keys.

Then, the women mesmerized the judges in the gown portion, making sure to make an onstage statement of her compelling charm and personality. The fabrics swirled around their heeled feet, showcasing the hard work they had put into their bodies and selves for this competition.

The final portion dealt with onstage questions asked to each contestant on a variety of current issues being faced in the university, commonwealth and nation communities. The contestants were required to think on their feet, using their intelligence to showcase their platforms.

Every contestant put forth a performance that reflected the dedication and hard work involved in their preparation.

The Second Runner-Up was announced as Charlee Schaefar, and First Runner-Up was awarded to Sierrah Miley. There was a Platform Award awarded to Alex Francke for her dedication to serving her community, and a Talent Award awarded to Miranda VanHoozen for her baton prowess.