Miss RHS Pageant names winners in numerous categories

Sarah Morgan, daughter of Dr. Tom and Laura Morgan, was crowned Miss RHS 2023 during the 41st annual Miss RHS Pageant March 3 in the RCS Auditorium.

“I am so excited and blessed to be chosen out of a stage filled with so many other beautiful, smart and talented girls,” said Morgan. “There is a long line of amazing women who exemplify the wonderful tradition of excellence that RCS is known for, and to follow in their footsteps is an honor.”

Morgan was one of the 21 contestants who competed in judges’ interview, evening gown and talent competitions. For her talent, she performed an acro-jazz routine to “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez.

In addition to being named Miss RHS 2023, she was recognized in her grade category for overall A’s, highest weighted GPA, most photogenic, best interview and talent winner.

Morgan, a senior, was also recently named the 2023 Distinguished Young Woman of Colbert County. She serves as captain and media specialist for the varsity cheer squad, is president of the National Honor Society, is a member of the ACT 30+ Club and was part of the Franklin County Junior Leadership Program. She is a four-time All-American Cheerleader, two-time Pin It Forward Leadership Award recipient, two-time Jump Off Champion and received a Universal Cheerleading Association staff invite.

While the Miss RHS prize package is worth $3,000 in scholarships and prizes – the highest total in the history of the pageant – Morgan described many other benefits she enjoyed by competing in the Miss RHS pageant as well, including the opportunity to step outside of her comfort zone and learn “many valuable skills” she will carry with her in the areas of interviewing, poise and “the power to rise above.”

“Even more than that, this experience gave me a wonderful week to spend with some amazing girls,” Morgan added. “They are all queens to me. Crown or no crown, this week was amazing with them. The crown was a very happy surprise.”

Morgan said she didn’t know what to expect going into the week, but she “worked hard and was excited for the journey,” noting the most comforting thing for her was knowing “no matter what the results were, my worth is not defined by a crown or an award.”

“It is defined by Jesus,” Morgan said. “We were all already princesses going into the week because we are all daughters of the one true king.”

She said she’s thankful for the opportunity to represent her school. “Russellville is such a special place. I strive to represent it with poise and grace.”

She also expressed her thankfulness for the community’s support for the pageant, which helps defray the cost of student yearbooks. “It is truly overwhelming how supportive our Miss RHS pageant patrons are, and I am so thankful for each and every one of them,” she said. “My heart is overflowing with gratitude for all those who helped me prepare or prayed for me this week.”

After graduation, Morgan will be attending Troy University to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, after which she plans to earn her master’s degree in finance.

“I hope to work in the non-profit space and eventually begin my own,” Morgan said.

ALTERNATES

Silvie Miller, daughter of Lee and Trisha Miller, placed as first alternate. A senior, she showed off her talent with a clogging routine she performed to an Elvis Presley medley. She was also recognized in her grade category for overall A’s and best evening gown.

She serves as the varsity cheer co-captain. She is an All-American Cheerleader and received a UCA staff invitation, serves as president of Future Teachers of Alabama and is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, National Honor Society and the Class of 2023 Homecoming Court.

Yadmil Perez Gabriel, daughter of Antonio and Leybi Perez Gabriel, placed as second alternate. She showed off her talent with a vibraphone performance of “Impromptu No. 3” by Schubert. She was also recognized in her grade category for overall A’s.

A senior, she is a member of the M100 Marching Band, in which she serves as a front ensemble section leader. She is the president of Future Business Leaders of America and serves as a Peer Helper and project chairperson of the National Honor Society. She is also a member of Christian Students United and the Annual Staff.

Ashlee Channing Moon, daughter of Chris and Monica Moon, placed as third alternate. Her talent was a vocal performance of “Someone Like You” by Adele. She was also recognized in her grade category for overall A’s.

A senior, she is a member of the volleyball team, Future Teachers of Alabama, Student Booster Club and the National Honor Society and served in the Franklin County Junior Leadership program.

GRADE REPRESENTATIVES

Stella Claire Hill, daughter of Eric and Tara Hill, was chosen as one of two 11th grade representatives. She showed off her talent with a lyrical dance to “Bound to You” by Christina Aguilera. She was also recognized in her grade category for overall A’s, highest weighted GPA, best evening gown and talent winner.

She is a member of the varsity cheer squad. She serves as president of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; vice president of Future Health Professionals; officer of the RCS Youth Leadership Academy; and is a dance and tumbling instructor.

Caylin Elizabeth Pinkard, daughter of Josh and Tabetha Pinkard, was also selected as grade representative. She performed an acro-jazz dance to “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson. She was also recognized in her grade category for overall A’s and best interview.

She is a member of the varsity cheer squad, is active in Future Teachers of America and Christian Students United and serves as a gymnastics and dance instructor.

Ella Leeann Colagross, daughter of John and Brea Colagross, was chosen as 10th grade representative. She was also recognized in her grade category for overall A’s, highest weighted GPA, most photogenic, best evening gown and talent winner.

She performed a tap dance routine to “It’s About That Walk” by Prince. She serves as the junior varsity cheer captain, is a member of the Student Council as sophomore class president and liaison, serves as the vice president and project chairperson for the Technology Student Association and is a member of the RCS Youth Leadership Academy and Christian Students United.

Aidyn Kate Marshall, daughter of TJ and Bonnie Bendall, was selected as one of two ninth grade representatives. She showed off her talent with a pointe ballet dance to “Madre de la Tierra” by David Lanz. She was also recognized in her grade category for overall A’s, best interview and talent winner. She was also chosen as the Viewer’s Choice winner.

She is a Tigerette in the RHS M100, as well as a member of Future Business Leaders of America, RCS Youth Leadership Academy, Peer Helpers and Christian Students United.

Lily Cate Pace, daughter of Brian and Jennifer Pace and Jenny and Jeremy Reed, was selected as one of two ninth grade representatives. She showed off her talent with a vocal performance to “At Last” by Etta James. She was recognized in her grade category for highest GPA.

She is a member of the RHS Junior Varsity Cheer Squad and the RHS Varsity Tennis Team. She is also a part of Christian Students United, the Student Praise Band at Tharptown Baptist Church and is a Peer Helper.

HIGHEST GPA

  • Ninth grade – Lily Cate Pace
  • 10th grade – Ella Leeann Colagross
  • 11th grade – Stella Claire Hill
  • 12th grade – Sarah Morgan

MOST PHOTOGENIC

  • Ninth grade – Ellie Willis
  • 10th grade – Ella Leeann Colagross
  • 11th grade – Pevton Parrish
  • 12th grade – Sarah Morgan

BEST INTERVIEW

  • Ninth grade – Aidyn Kate Marshall
  • 10th grade – Ella Leeann Colagross
  • 11th grade – Stella Hill and Caylin Pinkard
  • 12th grade – Sarah Morgan

BEST EVENING GOWN

  • Ninth grade – Emmy Green and Lily Cate Pace
  • 10th grade – Ella Leeann Colagross
  • 11th grade – Stella Hill
  • 12th grade – Silvie Miller

BEST TALENT

  • Ninth grade – Aidyn Kate Marshall
  • 10th grade – Ella Colagross
  • 11th grade – Stella Hill
  • 12th grade – Sarah Morgan

OTHERS FEATURED

The pageant also featured special entertainment from the Addie’s Flip, Tip and Tap Trio by Ruby Harbin, Liza Shaw Herring and Tinley Cleveland and from Miss RHS 2022 Madeline Cooper. Miss RHS 2021 Lauren Mae Sturdivant served as emcee for the event.

The pageant also featured 22 Little Sisters – Russellville Middle School students who were chosen by the contestants to introduce them during the talent competition – and 28 Rising Stars, West Elementary and Russellville Elementary students who accompanied their contestant onstage during the evening gown revue.

HISTORY

Lela Wright Ray, retired RCS art and drama teacher, and Stan McCarver, Tiger Track and Tiger Paws sponsor, co-founded the pageant. When McCarver retired, Susie Malone succeeded him.

In 2017 Dr. AnnaKay Holland and Cindy Coan took up the reins to continue the Miss RHS Pageant tradition. Patrice Burcham Smith and Gary McNutt handle music, lights and sound. This year, Smith was named an honorary Annual Staff member, and Holland received the Lifetime Golden Crown Award for her work as former coordinator of the Miss RHS pageant.

Coan is the current Miss RHS pageant director, and Kellie Singleton is in her first year as RHS Annual Staff sponsor and Miss RHS coordinator.

Judges for this year’s competition included Bishop Alexander, Benjamin Burt Helton and Madison Neal.

PAST MISS RHS WINNERS

  • 1983, Elizabeth Ragsdale
  • 1984, Dana Hester
  • 1985, Rhonda Holcomb
  • 1986, Kim Stanley
  • 1987, Denise Smith
  • 1988, Kelly McCullough
  • 1989, Traci Simpson
  • 1990, Susan Hammack
  • 1991, Amanda Ray
  • 1992, Ann Gilliland
  • 1993, Dena Hovater
  • 1994, Dedra Vernon
  • 1995, Jenny Vickery
  • 1996, Loretta Trapp
  • 1997, Olivia Wooten
  • 1998, Jessica Hillman
  • 1999, Brooke Colglazier
  • 2000, Stephanie Terry
  • 2001, Bonnie Clement
  • 2002, Heather Crowder
  • 2003, Mallory Wooten
  • 2004, Brandi Poss
  • 2005, Brittany James
  • 2006, Kelli Wells
  • 2007, Sarah Nichols
  • 2008, Anne-Marie Hall
  • 2009, Loren Sorrells
  • 2010, Paige Bowen
  • 2011, Anna-Claire Burgess
  • 2012, Anna Kathryn Alford
  • 2013, Erin Masterson
  • 2014, Cheyenne Smith
  • 2015, Hannah Prince
  • 2016, Jessica McSpadden
  • 2017, Hailey Peters
  • 2018, Ellie Kerby
  • 2019, Elizabeth Pierce
  • 2020, Sydney Medley
  • 2021, Lauren Mae Sturdivant
  • 2022, Madeline Cooper

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