By GWEN SISSON
Upon receiving the title of Starkvilleâ€™s Miss Hospitality on Saturday, Mary Lowry Nemeth was quick to say how honored she was to represent Starkville.
â€śI enjoyed the pageant so much and I have learned so much by being part of it,â€ť Nemeth said.
Vicki Burnett, director of the 2011 Starkvilleâ€™s Miss Hospitality Pageant said Nemeth put in a lot of work preparing for the local pageantÂ inÂ very effective ways during the past few months.Â
â€śFor instance, she asked several of her dadâ€™s co-workers to give her mock interviews, and she touredÂ important Starkville landmarks, such as the Heritage Museum, to learn moreÂ aboutÂ her hometown,â€ť Burnett said.Â â€śWhen a young lady takes the initiative toÂ prepare herselfÂ wellÂ for her local pageant, it speaks volumes about her willingness to go the extra mileÂ to ready herself for her trip to Hattiesburg for the state pageant.Â I am truly excited about working with her.â€ťÂ
Nemeth is the 19-year-old daughter of Mike and Renee Nemeth. She is a freshman at Mississippi State University where she is majoring in Biological Sciences, with the intention of pursuing a career in neo-native intensive care.Â
She is a member of Shakouls Honors College and was awarded an MSU Freshman Academic Excellence Scholarship. Mary Lowry is the public relations chair of the University Honors Council and serves as secretary for Students for Life.Â She is an MSU Diamond Girl, a leader for her church AWANA program, and is involved in the Baptist Student Union at MSU.
Her hobbies include traveling, SEC sports, club volleyball, baking, and reading.
Burnett said she has no doubt that Starkville will be well-represented by Nemeth atÂ Mississippiâ€™s Miss Hospitality Pageant in July.Â
â€śShe is an excellent candidate because she is friendly,Â intelligent, articulate, and poised,â€ť Burnett said. â€śThis year, I believe thatÂ the ideal candidate for Mississippiâ€™s Miss Hospitality is Mary Lowry Nemeth.â€ť
After Saturdayâ€™s pageant at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, pageant emcee and former Starkville Miss Hospitality Tori Ferguson said Nemethâ€™s leadership qualities will be an important factor in her new role.
â€śShe is also a great role model, and that is what you look for in a Miss Hospitality contestant,â€ť Ferguson said after Saturdayâ€™s event. Â
â€śMary LowryÂ is sincerely a great role model,â€ť Burnett said. â€śI know that we throw that term around a lot, but she has a genuine desire to help those coming up behind her.â€ťÂ
Burnett gives the example of Nemethâ€™s work leading young girls in the AWANA program at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
â€śBecause she values what she learned through the program, she is willing to make an investment in the lives of theseÂ girls,â€ť Burnett said.Â â€śAfter meeting Mary Lowry, you quickly discover thatÂ she is a very kind,Â caring young lady who enjoys life!â€ťÂ
In preparation for the state Miss Hospitality competition, Burnett said Nemeth has already doneÂ a lot of the ground workÂ necessary to prepare for the state pageant by simply learning as much as she can about her community, state, and nation.Â
At the state level, Nemeth will compete in two different interviews. She will once again deliver herÂ 20-second â€ścommercialâ€ť aboutÂ Starkville in the Little Black Dress/CommercialÂ Competition, she will give a 90-second speech aboutÂ Mississippi, and compete in the Evening Gown portion of the pageant.Â Â She will also need to practice fielding on-stage questions, should she advance to the top ten.Â
â€śSo basically, Mary Lowry will need to continue toÂ hone herÂ interviewing skills through mock interviews, develop her poise, write her speech, find a gorgeous evening gown, walk gracefully in high heels, learn several choreographedÂ dances, keep her grades up, stay abreast of current events,â€ť Burnett said. â€śBut if anyone can do it, Mary Lowry can!â€ť
Burnett said one of the reasons she volunteers with the Miss Hospitality Scholarship Program is seeing how it has enriched the life of her daughter, Tori Ferguson, both at the state and local level.
â€śI truly believe that young ladies who participate in this program have nothing to lose and everything to gain, even if they never receive aÂ crown,â€ť Burnett said.Â â€śFrom scholarship money, to speaking opportunities, toÂ killer interviewing skills, the Miss Hospitality Program has aÂ lot to offer.Â At the local level, we truly try toÂ make it a fun, enjoyable experience.Â I sincerely hope that more young ladies will continue to participate in the years to come.â€ťÂ
For more information about Starkvilleâ€™s Miss Hospitality program, e-mail Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2011 Mississippiâ€™s Miss Hospitality Pageant week will be July 24-30. For more information about Mississippiâ€™s Miss Hospitality Pageant, contact the Pageant Office at (800) 638-6877, or e-mail at email@example.com.