Check out my article on Miss UM for Her Campus at the University of Miami below!
The 64th annual Miss University of Miami Scholarship Pageant took place this past week. The pageant, hosted by the Butler Center for Service and Leadership, is a local preliminary for the Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant. Jessica Bayuk, a freshmen psychology major and member of the Sunstations Dance Team, took home the coveted crown.
“It feels amazing to be Miss University of Miami,” Bayuk said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I began attending school here.”
Bayuk was selected by a panel of six Miss America certified preliminary judges. Contestants were scored in five categories including swimsuit, evening gown, talent, on-stage question and a private interview with the judges before the stage competition. This interview is worth 25% of the contestant’s score. Swimsuit is 10%, evening gown is 15%, talent is 30%, and on-stage question is worth 20%. The lowest two scores for each contestant were thrown out.
A total of five girls competed for the title. Along with the title of Miss University of Miami, Bayuk walked away with the top swimsuit, evening wear, interview, talent, and service awards. Sophomore Courtney walked away as first runner-up and People’s Choice for raising the most funds for the Children’s Miracle Network. She won a $250 scholarship. The second runner-up was Symone Phillips. Shivani Hanchate won Miss Congeniality.
Buyak was crowned by the outgoing Miss University of Miami 2016, Krya Freeman. Freeman assumed the title last year after the original winner became unable to compete in the Miss Florida Pageant.
“She’s an amazing girl and she’s going to be a great Miss University of Miami,” said Freeman.
Jessica already has big plans for her title. Along with numerous opportunities to appear at events and service days with the Butler Center and competing at Miss Florida, Bayuk is planning on many community outreach events for her platform.
“I’m looking forward to the service aspect,” Bayuk said. “I hope to expand my platform, Anti-Bullying: Take a Stand into the South Miami community.”
“It’s great to see someone so eager to step into the role,” said Andrew Wiemer, the director of the Butler Center for Service and Leadership.
The winner of the Miss Florida Pageant will advance to the Miss America Pageant. The Miss America Organization has been dubbed the, “largest provider of women’s scholarships in the world.” Jessica won a $500 scholarship along with numerous gift cards from sponsors including Anne Marie’s Boutique and Regalia Magnificent Apparel. Jessica will represent the University of Miami at the Miss Florida Pageant this year. It is set to take place June 27th – July 1st.