Kailyn Dearing, an international studies major from Bentonville, Ark., and Forrest Drury, a social science education major from Park Rapids, Minn., won the titles of Mr. and Miss Southwest at the annual pageant on Friday, March 13 at Southwest Baptist University.
For the pageant, eight candidates were nominated by SBU faculty and staff and voted upon by the student body for the purpose of selecting a pair of standout students to represent the Bearcat family for the next year.
This year’s candidates for Mr. and Miss Southwest also included O’Leesa Booker of Independence, Mo.; Morgan Lucy of Glenwood, Iowa; Grant Teckmeyer of Lincoln, Neb.; Nicki Turano of Saint Louis, Mo.; Manny Ofori-Yeboah of Bolivar, Mo.; and Richard Young of O’Fallon, Mo.
The pageant featured introductory videos and a talent presentation by each candidate, followed by a round of text-message voting to determine the top four candidates, who then participated in question-and-answer sessions. A final round of voting determined the winners.
During the competition, Dearing used string to create a piece of artwork outlining the continent of Africa while a slideshow played of photographs from a mission trip she participated in there in 2012. “When I was a [high school] senior at Bearcat Days, I would never have imagined being on stage three years later,” said Dearing. “To me, it points to the growth that’s happened and the faculty, staff and friends who have poured into me at SBU.” She hopes to attend physical therapy school after graduation and pursue missionary work.
Drury presented a humorous mock-cooking show in which he portrayed “Chad,” a heavily accented Canadian culinary expert demonstrating his scrambled-eggs-making method. “It was so fun that night to [show] what we had been practicing, and the audience was really supportive,” said Drury. “It was really exciting just to get nominated. I felt like it was a really big honor.” After graduation, Drury intends to teach social science and become a high school coach.
The beginnings of the “Miss Southwest” pageant date back to the 1930s, with “Mr. Southwest” being added in 1963. The pageant, which was organized by the students of SBU’s University Activities Council, was one of the keynote happenings of Bearcat Days, the two-day visit event in which admitted students considering SBU attendance were hosted on campus March 13-14.
For more information about Mr. and Miss Southwest, please contact student activities director Nathan Penland, who may be reached at (417) 328-1828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.