Pageant gives back to Parker Bennett Community Center

Quiche Matchem

As a requirement for winning the title of Miss Black Western at WKU, the winner has to do a service project or a project that gives back to the community. For 2013 Miss Black Western Porshia Austin, the opportunity allowed her to do something different.

Last Saturday, Austin, a Clarksville, Tenn. junior, gave nine girls from Parker Bennett community center the opportunity to compete in Miss and Little Miss Parker Bennett Pageant at Van Meter Auditorium.

The community center is a center that provides after school programs, campus, and dances for the community in Bowling Green.

“This pageant shows a different aspect of Parker Bennett community center,” Austin said.

Austin said there are people that have a negative connotation about the center and she’s thought the pageant could help change that. She said she worked with the coordinator of Parker Bennett Community center during the summer to start planning for the pageant.

The nine girls have been practicing since the first week of February until the day of the pageant.

Austin said since the girls started practicing a lot of the girls attitudes changed and how they look at things have also.

She said during practices she had to learn patience because she would see so much potential in them and if they didn’t execute she had to remind herself that they’re just kids.

Ages ranged from six to 12 years old, but despite their age they brought attitude and poise to the stage by blowing kisses to the audience and strutting on stage.

Scenes included School Days, Career Day, Talent, and Formal wear. During the formal wear scene, contestants were escorted by boys that attended the community center.

All contestants showed their inner and outer beauty, but only two could win.

The Miss Junior winner was contestant #4 NaTajia Alexander and the Misses winner was contestant #7 Imani Withrow.

Both of their mothers were excited for their daughters and loved the pageant.

NaTajia Alexander’s mother, Natyka Alexander said it was her daughters first time doing a pageant. 

“She did it all by herself,” she said. “I just sat back and watched. I told her to be strong will because I know she could do it and to believe in herself.”

Natyka said she thinks it’s important to empower black girls and they should continue the pageant.

Imani Withrow’s mother, LaToya Withrow said at first practicing for the pageant was a little hectic, but in the end it was well worth it and very proud of her daughter.

 “I think they should give this opportunity to other young ladies as well,” LaToya said. 

Austin said the pageant wouldn’t have been a success if it weren’t for the volunteers that helped with the pageant. The pageant wasn’t an easy process. Austin said she got a lot of no’s from people, but she overcame those obstacles. 

“With prayer and God anything is possible,” Austin said.