By Eriana Meadows
BOILING, SPRINGS N.C.— Kendal Vest, of Shady Spring, W.Va., was crowned Miss Gardner-Webb and tied for Miss Congeniality during her first ever pageant. Vest entered the contest with the intent to connect with a new group of young women all while representing the University.
The annual pageant was held in Dover Theatre on Sunday, March 26, where seven contestants showcased their talent and poise. They worked diligently for seven weeks. Throughout the pageant journey, the contestants have learned self-acceptance, time management and commitment from the workshops. The contestants were also interviewed individually by a panel of judges. When Kendal was interviewed, she was asked to name the one thing that she was most proud of at Gardner-Webb.
“While I think it is exceptional that both the football team and the women’s basketball team won the Big South Championships, what has impressed me more is the encouragement and support from the community to the athletes. The teams are not separate from the student body but rather have close friendships among the student body. The sense of community around Gardner-Webb’s campus became extremely evident to me through the celebrations not just of the teams represented but by the actual individuals and their friends around campus. This really is a special place where relationships thrive,” Vest responded.
Jessika Raduly, pageant coordinator and associate director of Student Engagement describes the pageant as an empowering tradition to celebrate sisterhood and confidence, commemorating National Women’s Month. On the day of the pageant, the contestants showcased their opening number and competed in four categories: talent, business wear, fun fashion and evening gown.
For the talent segment, Vest performed a piano piece by the Piano Guys’ arrangement of Ed Sheeran’s song “Perfect.”
“I chose to play this song because I thought it would be a sweet song to play as a reminder that each of the women are perfect the way they are and looked lovely for the pageant,” said Vest.
Allie Cooke, Miss Gardner-Webb ‘22, enjoyed getting to know Kendal Vest and shared kind words toward her achievement. “The new Miss Gardner-Webb is a very genuine woman with a heart for the Lord. Kendal will be an excellent representation of this school and I am happy to pass this honorable title to her,” said Cooke.
Kendal expressed her own gratitude for this life-changing moment.
“I am looking forward to the opportunity to share about my incredible experience at GWU so far and brag on God for allowing me to be here. I hope to be as much of a servant on campus,” Vest said.
To see more photos of the pageant taken by GWU Photo Staff, click here.