The Miss Iowa Scholarship Program is rich in MAO and American history. As the first pageant to crown an African America, Cheryl Brown, in 1970, the program has spent decades building up women with stories as diverse as the number who compete for the title each summer.
The state program unofficially began in 1924 when Miss Sioux City represented the state by competing for the national crown. Officially, the first state pageant was held three years later. Since 1965, Davenport has been the official host city of the state pageant in June.
The program’s board members are few, but their impact is mighty. With two executive directors and six additional board members, decisions are made in quick succession, and everyone has a role of their own. The board uses the input and knowledge of its supporters as well, and compiles everyone’s strengths to make sure each year is better than the last.
“By keeping our board relatively small, we can have more productive discussions and decision making processes. We utilize committee members and volunteers to facilitate many functions. Our Iowa pageant community is a generous one,” says Amy McAreavy and Leslie Moore, co-executive directors. “Having a couple of successful former Miss Iowa’s in the loop doesn’t hurt either!”
Thanks to the “invaluable” aid of Miss Iowa 2008 Olivia Myers Baker and Miss Iowa 1992 Cathy Herd, Iowa contestants get the help and coaching they need, “especially when it comes to interview,” Amy and Leslie say.
Mariah Cary is Miss Iowa 2012, and she’s just months away from the national competition in Las Vegas. As a representative of her state, she is proud to be involved in an organization that brings fresh faces and ideas to the forefront.
“Transition and change is always great and although it may be challenging at times, the Miss Iowa program has always handled every situation with grace and never fails to be the prestigious program that the Miss America Organization has allowed it to be,” Mariah says.
Miss Iowa 2012 is no stranger to standing up to a challenge and facing adversity. Her journey this year serving her state and living with Tourette’s syndrome proves that from determination and with the support of a pageant family, young women can turn difficulties into strengths.
“She’s worked hard to become an incredible speaker so her message really resonates with people,” Amy and Leslie say.Read more on the Miss Iowa Scholarship Program in the October issue of fourpoints!