Barriers were broken at the Miss Sam Houston State University pageant but controversy surrounds the judges decision.
Shanece Smith, a junior communications studies major and Miss Delta Sigma Theta won the judges over with her outgoing personality and spunky attitude. Smith not only brought her unique flare to the stage but also broke the model of pageant women.
I can say that I have knocked over another barrier, I know I can do it, all you have to do is put your mind to it and everything will work its course, Smith said.
Smith competed against six other women in a series of competitions that showcased their spirit, talent and poise. First runner up was Meagen Morrison, Miss Alpha Delta Pi, followed by the second runner up Lindsey Hill, Miss Orange Pride.
While these seven young women represent the diversity of the SHSU campus, some raise the question as to whether or not the pageant portrays a different message.
Smith is the third woman from a minority group to win the title of Miss SHSU, but Assistant Director of Student Activities, Donielle Miller, believes it shouldnt be about race but about the character of the person.
Most of our judges are not from minority groups and I think it is about the content of the person and not the color of their skin. It is about the content they bring to the stage, Smith said.
As with every pageant questions are raised over the fairness, Miller says she can attest that the Miss SHSU pageant is in no way fixed.
The scores are open for the young ladies to come back and review them, they know how this pageant will be scored going into it we keep all of the scores on file. We keep a spreadsheet of everything that happens that tabulation is done by Executive Director of Campus Activates and Leadership initiatives Dr. Leah Mulligan and a assistant to the department it doesnt touch program council hands it doesnt touch anyone who is directly connected to the pageant, Miller said.
Whether people believe the pageant is fixed or not, SHSU and the city of Huntsville have a new representative for the Miss Texas America pageant later this year.
Smith not only walked away with the coveted crown of Miss SHSU, she was also awarded a $2,000 educational fund, $500 for her sponsoring organization and a 1 year meal plan with Aramark catering services.
Angelic Oritz, 2012 Miss Sam Houston, says she had an amazing experience during her reign and is proud to hand the title over to someone she knows.
Ortiz advised the new Miss SHSU to stay loyal to her platform and to never lose sight of her purpose whether she wins or lose.