What started off as a fun pact between friends ended up becoming reality for Rebecca Montgomery, a sophomore studying industrial and transportation design, when she was crowned Miss Lawrence Tech 2013 in the scholarship pageant held on Feb. 9.
“Last year during Discovery Days, we signed each other up for Miss Lawrence Tech. We all kind of laughed about it, saying how we would never do that. It was really cool because the day of the competition we were talking about it and we all came to the same realization that we started this journey last year, and we are finishing it this year together as sophomores, more mature,” Montgomery said.
By winning the title, Montgomery won a $1,000 scholarship and an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2013 Miss Michigan Scholarship Pageant in Muskegon in June. Her platform is to reform government foster care, and her talent is flag twirling.
Cassandra Pizzi, a senior studying architecture and interior design, won a $500 scholarship for first runner-up and a $100 scholarship for highest GPA. This is Pizzi’s second year competing in the Miss Lawrence Tech pageant, and she will compete at the Miss Lighthouse Coast Pageant on March 1 where all the first runner-ups across the state compete for one last opportunity to make it to Miss Michigan.
Sarah Klein, a sophomore studying audio engineering was second runner-up and won a $100 scholarship.
The other contestants were Christina Milne, a senior studying civil engineering; Kim Klieber, a junior studying civil engineering; Caitlin Boote, a sophomore studying architectural engineering; Meriah Fermin, a freshman studying computer science; and Meredith Harper, a sophomore studying graphic design and winner of the People’s Choice Award.
The pageant’s executive director was Eula Muckleroy, student engagement program coordinator at Lawrence Technological University (LTU). “The pageant helps develop young women as future leaders. Competitors can gain a deeper knowledge of self by looking to the four points of the Miss America organization as a guide – style, success, scholarship, and service. The pageant creates opportunities for these young women to step out as individuals with a passion and desire to make changes in the lives of others,” she said.
Kelly Oles, a three-time Miss Michigan finalist and manager of Corporate Partnership Development at Palace Sports and Entertainment LLC, was the pageant’s emcee for the night. She held an intermission competition for four lucky audience members who answered questions about LTU and Miss America. Jaleel Graham, Elma Balic, Megan O’Mally, and Faith Stebbs each won four lower-bowl Pistons’ tickets.
Rachel Sweet, Miss Lawrence Tech 2012, passed down her crown to Montgomery and gave a touching farewell performance in which she sang “The Climb” alongside her father, Adjunct Faculty Ben Sweet, who played the guitar. Sweet’s future endeavors include competing in more pageants and encouraging young people to be themselves.
“I would like to thank Brooke Hayes of the Advancement office for volunteering her time to mentor Rachel this year. Without Brooke’s personable demeanor and instant connection with Rachel, expertise, and background in pageants there’s no way Rachel would have been ready for the Miss Michigan Competition this past June,” Muckleroy said.
When asked what holding the title of Miss Lawrence Tech entails for her, Montgomery said, “Miss LTU is what you make of it.”
Aside from competing in the Miss Michigan pageant, Montgomery plans on attending as many campus and community events as she can. She will attend Winterlude 2013 for University Advancement.
“I will be a larger part of Homecoming than I would have been otherwise. I am given the opportunity to go out into the community and be part of that. Basically spread [the word about] Lawrence Tech, [about] myself, and the Miss America group through visiting children’s hospitals and philanthropic work based on my platform – reform of government foster care,” Montgomery said.
Jamiil Gaston, Krysta Foster, and Elizabeth Artz were the stage managers for the night while Brandon Hakeem worked the judge’s chair. Gaston and Foster have worked the Miss LTU pageant for five years since its inception in 2009. The pageant has gained a special place in their hearts.
This year Foster is a graduate assistant in the Student Engagement Office and will be leaving to attend her grad program at Western Michigan University. Gaston, student assistant in the Office of Student engagement, will be pursuing other professional endeavors.
“Their backstage presence will be missed and ever appreciated,” said Muckleroy.
Special thanks to the judges of the evening: Khristian Alexander, Mrs. Michigan United States 2012; Hassan Jawad, owner of Tower Real Estate Ventures and the City Centre Plaza; Nicole Blaszczyk, Miss Michigan 2009; Danielle Pleas, National Committee Chair for the Arthritis Foundation; and Terry Croad, the director of planning for the City of Southfield.
A big thank you to the staff of Students Planning Activities Monthly for their help – Jamiil Gaston, Lauren McNichol, Erika Zajac, Ashley Rogoff, Alicia Brimmel, Suvro Sudip, Allison Kasprzyk, Marilyn Cannell, Mario Gagnon, Alex Eddington, Alex Bryden, and Kate Watson.
Thanks to LTU’s women’s soccer team and Coach Jamie Scott for offering their help. Thank you also to Wally, Norm, Sam, and Scottie, otherwise known as AV Service. Thank you, eLearning for the fantastic farewell video.