By GWEN SISSON
Upon receiving the title of Starkville’s Miss Hospitality on Saturday, Mary Lowry Nemeth was quick to say how honored she was to represent Starkville.
“I enjoyed the pageant so much and I have learned so much by being part of it,” Nemeth said.
Vicki Burnett, director of the 2011 Starkville’s Miss Hospitality Pageant said Nemeth put in a lot of work preparing for the local pageant in very effective ways during the past few months.
“For instance, she asked several of her dad’s co-workers to give her mock interviews, and she toured important Starkville landmarks, such as the Heritage Museum, to learn more about her hometown,” Burnett said. “When a young lady takes the initiative to prepare herself well for her local pageant, it speaks volumes about her willingness to go the extra mile to ready herself for her trip to Hattiesburg for the state pageant. I am truly excited about working with her.”
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.
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. 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 at Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality Pageant in July.
“She is an excellent candidate because she is friendly, intelligent, articulate, and poised,” Burnett said. “This year, I believe that the ideal candidate for Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality is Mary Lowry Nemeth.”
After Saturday’s pageant at the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, pageant emcee and former Starkville Miss Hospitality Tori Ferguson said Nemeth’s leadership qualities will be an important factor in her new role.
“She is also a great role model, and that is what you look for in a Miss Hospitality contestant,” Ferguson said after Saturday’s event.
“Mary Lowry is sincerely a great role model,” Burnett said. “I know that we throw that term around a lot, but she has a genuine desire to help those coming up behind her.”
Burnett gives the example of Nemeth’s work leading young girls in the AWANA program at Emmanuel Baptist Church.
“Because she values what she learned through the program, she is willing to make an investment in the lives of these girls,” Burnett said. “After meeting Mary Lowry, you quickly discover that she is a very kind, caring young lady who enjoys life!”
In preparation for the state Miss Hospitality competition, Burnett said Nemeth has already done a lot of the ground work necessary to prepare for the state pageant by simply learning as much as she can about her community, state, and nation.
At the state level, Nemeth will compete in two different interviews. She will once again deliver her 20-second “commercial” about Starkville in the Little Black Dress/Commercial Competition, she will give a 90-second speech about Mississippi, and compete in the Evening Gown portion of the pageant. She will also need to practice fielding on-stage questions, should she advance to the top ten.
“So basically, Mary Lowry will need to continue to hone her interviewing skills through mock interviews, develop her poise, write her speech, find a gorgeous evening gown, walk gracefully in high heels, learn several choreographed dances, keep her grades up, stay abreast of current events,” Burnett said. “But if anyone can do it, Mary Lowry can!”
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.
“I truly believe that young ladies who participate in this program have nothing to lose and everything to gain, even if they never receive a crown,” Burnett said. “From scholarship money, to speaking opportunities, to killer interviewing skills, the Miss Hospitality Program has a lot to offer. At the local level, we truly try to make it a fun, enjoyable experience. I sincerely hope that more young ladies will continue to participate in the years to come.”
For more information about Starkville’s Miss Hospitality program, e-mail Burnett at email@example.com .
The 2011 Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality Pageant week will be July 24-30. For more information about Mississippi’s Miss Hospitality Pageant, contact the Pageant Office at (800) 638-6877, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .