Lydia Myers

Lydia Myers of Jones County participating in the Miss Mississippi Pageant in late June. Photo/submitted

The following is a “parent’s perspective” by Dr. Bill Myers of some of the activities involving his daughter, Lydia, at the Miss Mississippi Pageant recently. The Myers family lives in Jones County. 

On Saturday June 22, a new Miss Mississippi was crowned. Mary Margaret Hyer is our new Miss Mississippi 2019 and will represent our great state in the upcoming Miss America Pageant.

We officially arrived in Vicksburg, Miss., on Saturday morning, June 15 for Lydia to attend a welcome luncheon with the other 44 candidates. Saturday evening each candidate had the privilege to officially crown their princesses and princes. Each girl competing was required to have three young boys and girls to represent them. Each prince received a medallion and sash and every princess received a sash and crown. It was thrilling to see the look on each child’s face as they were honored.

Lydia was blessed to have three young ladies from Laurel – Avery Cockrell, Bella Cooley, and Aleya walker – as her three princesses. The bonding and mentoring was priceless.

That same evening, they announced the top eight candidates chosen for the Quality of Life award. This prestigious award involves the candidate’s social impact statement and involvement. Lydia’s social impact is the Worth Project, which is oriented toward building self-esteem into the lives of young children as well as teens and adults. We were surprised and honored that she was included in this nomination. This meant she would have an additional interview with a separate panel of judges to determine the Quality of Life winner, which included a $1500 scholarship.

Sunday morning was the official arrival for the candidates. They were all beautifully dressed for pictures. This was also when we had to say goodbye to our girl. The parents officially turned the girls over to the pageant. The pageant housed all the candidates in a local hotel. Parents would only get to see them at designated times.

Sunday afternoon was full of rehearsals for the pageant. Monday evening we participated in the Miss Mississippi Parade in downtown Vicksburg. What a fun experience! An autograph party for the ladies followed the parade.

Monday through Wednesday mornings were interviews with the pageant judges – Lydia had her interview Tuesday morning.

Wednesday through Friday evening were the pageant’s preliminary competition held in the Vicksburg Convention Center. The ladies competed in front of a live audience.

During Friday evening’s pageant, the eight ladies nominated for the Quality of Life award were brought on stage for the announcement of the winner. To our surprise, Lydia won this prestigious award! It was big honor accompanied with the $1500 scholarship!

Saturday evening the top ten were announced and the evening concluded with Mary Margaret being crowned. Even though Lydia didn’t make the cut of the top ten, she left her first Miss Mississippi pageant with valuable experience and $3900 in scholarships.

As a dad, I will admit I was disappointed at first, as all parents believe their daughter should win, but unfortunately only one young lady receives the crown; but I’ve learned to accept God’s will.

Being a Christian, I prayed and asked God many questions that night. I knew that I was His child and I knew He loved me. He loves to answer our questions and understands each disappointment and hurt. What I felt my Heavenly Father saying to me was “timing.” Yes, Bill’s timing and God’s timing are many times different. I’ve learned in my walk with God that He knows way more than me and I should learn to trust His will in the journey of life.

Being Lydia’s first year to compete in this pageant, she didn’t seem disappointed. She gained valuable experience and decided that she’ll compete again. She also bonded and made life-long friends with 44 amazing young women, was able to share her social impact with the judges, and received an opportunity to perform on the convention center stage in front of a large audience.

With or without the pageant, Lydia is determined to continue making a difference in the lives of those she comes in contact with. It’s her mission and her ministry.

The many hours of preparation for the pageant were a win/win for her. She definitely matured through the experience of talent rehearsals, mock interviews, gym workouts, and much more. She is determined to continue working toward her goals. Lydia will return to Ole Miss this fall for her senior year. She received the leading role of Jo in the University of Mississippi’s musical production of “Little Women” to open in October on the stage of the Ford Center.

Teri and I are thankful for the calling that God has placed on our daughter. His plans are always the best. This experience continues to teach us to trust in Jesus each step of our journey.

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