Feb. 26, 2015
For Immediate Release
By Rachel DeCoursey, student news writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Besides attending classes and preparing for a career in music education, Jessica Blakeman is now preparing to represent Campbellsville University in the 2015 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival by being named this year’s CU Valentine’s Queen. She won the title on Friday, Feb. 13, in Ransdell Chapel, representing the National Association for Music Education.
“I could not be more excited to represent Campbellsville University as Miss Valentine Queen 2015,” Blakeman said.
The pageant went beyond the one night of final completion. The students spent several weeks practicing their talents and group dance routines. Blakeman said that she probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with several of the young women if not for the pageant.
“I will always be so thankful for making those friendships and the memories I have with them,” Blakeman said. Her talent was singing.
First runner-up was senior Mary Hodgen. Hodgen is an elementary education major from Springfield, Ky. She represented Kappa Delta Pi. For her talent she wrote and sang her own song.
Second runner-up was Amber Wright of Marion, Ky. She represented Women’s Village Phase One. The mass communication major preformed a comical song as her talent.
Winning Miss Congeniality was Mallory Vest of Muskegon, Mich., who represented Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association’s official honor society. Her talent was speaking in five different languages and reciting a bible verse.
James Sabo, grandfather to contestant Heather Sabo whom he escorted, won the award for Best Escort.
Each of the nine contestants represented a club at Campbellsville University.
The Valentine’s Day Pageant is one of Campbellsville University’s longest running traditions. This year marked 73 years that the CU Student Government Association has hosted the pageant. Michael Jennings, president of the SGA, said he loves that fact that the university is one large family, and part of that family tradition, he said, is the Valentine’s Day Pageant.
“We are entrusted by the administration to keep the family tradition running,” Jennings said. “We are carrying it to future generations. It’s a great experience for the ladies to shine the lights and passions that the Lord has given them.”
Jennings also said that it’s great for the SGA because members get to participate in the making of the university’s history.
All contestants competed in several categories for the pageant. The categories were: interview, group dance, personal talent and poise and appearance.
Three judges, Stephanie Johnson, Brianna Burdan and Lorie Nolley, were in charge of evaluating the students in each category and determining the final winners.
The contestants and the organizations they represented were: Jessica Cook of Tilbury, Ontartio, Canada, CU Swim Team; Mary Hodgen of Springfield, Ky., Kappa Delta Pi; Jessica Blakeman of Campbellsville, Ky., National Association for Music Education; Beth McConnell of Tompkinsville, Ky., Education Club; Sarah Johnson of Belleville, Ill., Stapp Hall; Mallory Vest of Muskegon, Mich., Lambda Pi Eta; Heather Sabo of Campbellsville, Ky., Social Work Club; Amber Wright of Marion, Ky., Women’s Village Phase One; and Shelby Knuckles of Trenton, Ky., Baptist Campus Ministry.
The Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival will take place during Memorial Day weekend.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.