By AMBER ALEXANDER
BB Staff Writer
For Miss Mississippi Sarah Beth James, the experiences she has had in the last six months and will have for the next six months are something she is going to remember for the rest of her life.
“I have learned more this year than I could have ever imagined. Mostly, I have learned about myself – who I am and what I am capable of achieving,” said James, a Mississippi State student.
“The Miss America experience was like no other. It has taught me the significance of the journey rather than the destination, as well as the necessity of a support system.
“I am extremely fortunate to have amazing family and friends encouraging me along the way, and picking me up when I need it most. This year has taught me to lean on them more than ever, and to laugh at myself every once in a while,” James says.
James returned to Mississippi from Miss America with a talent award and memories that will last a life time. She was fortunate enough to meet Barry Manilow and gained many friends along the way including her roommate at the pageant, Miss Pennsylvania.
“There were mornings I would wake up and could not believe I was there. Looking back, it is truly surreal,” James says.
It didn’t hit James that she was actually at the Miss America pageant until she performed her talent, playing the piano.
“I had just finished my talent, took a bow, and was walking off the stage. I had been in Las Vegas for a few days, and had had my interview with the judges the day before, but it wasn’t until the first night on stage, that I really began to realize what it was that was happening, and what I had just done,” James said.
“It is a unique feeling – to realize the immense significance of the moment you are in.
“I’m not sure I will ever fully realize how remarkable it is to have shared this experience with 52 intelligent, talented, aspiring young women. I do know it is something I will never forget,” James says.
For now James is enjoying her moments of being Miss Mississippi and is proud to have brought home a talent award that was given out to only four states.
What’s next for James?
“I plan to finish out my year as Miss Mississippi, and do not plan to waste any time – we have a full and productive six months ahead of us,” James said.
“After crowning the next Miss Mississippi, I will return to Mississippi State to resume classes and continue to cheer on my Dawgs next season!”
Miss Mississippi: What others have to say...
“Sarah Beth has accomplished more in the past year than anyone else I know. It has been an honor to see her hard work and perseverance pay off and I could not be more proud of her.
“I cannot think of a better person to represent Mississippi other than Sarah Beth James. She always sets a wonderful example for everyone and I am so blessed to have her as a friend!
Claire Lamar, roommate
“Watching Sarah Beth the past 6 months has been so exciting.
“I have so much respect for her as a person and as a friend, and watching her touch so many different groups of people and do so many great things as Miss Mississippi has made me realize more and more how great of a heart she has.
“I’ve missed her! But I’m so proud of what she’s done.”
Julie Fine, Chi Omega little sister
“It’s been so exciting to watch sarah beth shine as miss mississippi this year! We all knew that she was a very talented young woman and would make a difference in people’s lives somehow.
“This was proven by her platform of promoting organ and tissue donation. Since Sarah Beth was crowned miss mississippi, she has stayed true to herself and what she believes in.
“She has done an amazing job representing our state and will continue to do so until she gives up her crown in July.
“We are all so proud of her and everything she has accomplished! I can’t wait to watch her achieve more of her dreams!”
Kara McDowell, best friend