Celebrating fifty years of Miss Lawton

Photo by Vicky Smith

Photo by Vicky Smith

Vicky Smith
News Writing Student

Crowds gathered for the 50th annual Miss Lawton Pageant at 7 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the McMahon Memorial Auditorium.

Of the 11 contestants, three of them were Cameron University students: Tiffany Swinford, Sweta Patel and Kadijah Drewery.

For five decades, young women across the region have strived for the dream of winning Miss Lawton.

Patel, a junior accounting major, said she enjoyed being a part of the half-century legacy.

“It was just a big deal just knowing that Miss Lawton has been around for 50 years,” she said, “and it’s been still going up and strong.”

The young women not only raised $100 each for the Children’s Miracle Network in order to participate in the pageant but also competed in the categories of interview, on-stage question, swimwear, eveningwear and talent.

The winner of the Miss Lawton Pageant was Savannah Phillips, a freshman who attends the University of Tulsa. Swinford, a freshman Chemistry major, received first runner-up.

Patel received Miss Congeniality, a title she was proud to earn.

“I considered it a great honor to be Miss Congeniality, knowing the contestants were voting for that title,” Patel said.

One of her main motivations to run in the competition was to support the awareness of human trafficking, the issue she selected as part of the pageant’s required platform statement.

“It really hurts to see that girls my age are victims of human trafficking and have to go through that kind of lifestyle,” she said, “and I’m here sitting perfectly safe in a building with a roof over my head, so it really hurt my heart to see that.”

Patel also wanted to compete so that she could build and strengthen relationships with the other contestants.

“I love hanging around and meeting new girls, making new friends,” she said. “That’s always a memorable thing. It’s always been fun to meet new people.”

Although she said the talent portion required “practice, practice, practice,” it was her favorite aspect of the night.

“Everyone got a chance to like shine in that moment,” Patel said, “and it’s just the most fun part. My talent portion, it was a Bollywood dance, and I chose it because it was something that would get the crowd pumped up.”

Beyond the stage, she hoped to make a positive impact on the lives of other young girls.

“The effect that I want to make is to be able to show that other girls…are able to do this kind of pageant. You don’t have to have the perfect body to do it,” Patel said, “because that’s not what they [judges] look at. You know, swimwear is a part of it, but that’s just to see if you can motivate yourself…

“Anyone can win,” she said.

Drewery, a sophomore music education major, also said she yearns to influence the lives of others.

“I thought the Miss Lawton role would be a great way to show what women can do,” Drewery said, “how independent we can be, how intelligent we can be, how we can make campaigns about what we feel strongly about.”

Like Patel, Drewery felt strongly about the topic she chose for her platform statement, domestic violence awareness.

“There’s a lot of shelters in Oklahoma that service domestic violence victims that experience violent situations in their homes,” Drewery said. “I don’t like what they have to go through, so I want to stand up for them.”

For the talent portion, Drewery sang Frank Sinatra’s “New York,” showcasing her vocal abilities. She felt this performance showed off her passion for music.

“I want to be a music teacher – a choir teacher for high school,” she said, “but it’s always been my dream to be discovered one day.”

Drewery encourages all people to never give up on their dreams to be successful.

“Not just girls, but anybody should go for their dreams, no matter what,” she said. “Do what you want without, like, don’t feel shy.

“I feel like you should always dream big and go for it,” Drewery said.


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