By Megan Davis, University Relations Intern
This year not one, but three titleholders who will compete this December in the Miss Black Tennessee USA pageant have ties to UTC. This means UTC holds the distinction of having the most representation from a college or university this year.
The three are: Sophomore Kayla Moore – Miss Black Davidson County USA 2013; Junior Montrice Hampton – Miss Black Shelby County USA 2013; and Alumna Ariel Smith – Miss Black Nashville USA 2013.
“UTC has had an outstanding presence in the African American community across the state,” Lorean C. Mays, director of Miss Black Tennessee USA, said. “It is apparent that with that ‘Blue and Gold Pride’ and ‘Moc Spirit’ it is instilled in every student that no dream is impossible.”
Mays is no stranger to the competition. This native of Chattanooga is the former “Miss Black Tennessee USA 2005-2006.” She is working with Miss Black USA to ensure young women from across Tennessee have a fair shot to participate in this pageant. Mays has high expectations for those who compete for the crown.
“I want these young women to be great role models,” Mays said. “I want the titleholder to be a real woman everyone can relate to, not what magazines and advertisements tell us is a real woman.”
Mays believes the three young women with ties to UTC have selected platforms they can pursue for a lifetime.
Moore spends her time working in the Office of Admissions. She dances for the Elite Dance Team, and she is pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. Her goal is to promote her platform “Children of Promise” which will provide encouragement and help youth and young adults who are copping with a parent or loved one currently incarcerated.
Hampton works for the “Gear Up” program at UTC and also works as a tutor at Orchard Knob Middle School. Her major is PrePharmacy. The goal of her platform “Project PINK” is to help fight the statistics that come with teen pregnancy in the African American community by promoting abstinence and the importance of girls and teens putting their lives first.
During her time at UTC, Smith was a UTC cheerleader, RA, and Orientation leader. She also spent her time as a tutor for inner city children and has worked in after-school programs teaching young girls hip-hop dance. Smith’s platform is “Asthma and You.” The goal is early diagnosis, treatment awareness and parental education and support.