RALEIGH, NC- Blount Street was full of beauty, brains and talent today as Governor McCrory welcomed the 37 Miss North Carolina pageant contestants to the executive mansion. Kicking off pageant week at the Governor’s mansion brings back a longstanding tradition that ended more than 20 years ago. Outgoing Miss North Carolina Beth Stovall, captivated the group with a beautiful rendition of the national anthem.
“These young women are role models for the state in leadership and service to their communities,” Governor McCrory told the group. “Ya’ll keep doing what you’re doing and I hope one of you will be Governor some day, living in this house.”
Stovall joined the Governor to reflect on her year and welcome the contestants. “I’ve learned more about North Carolina this year than I had in the previous 20 years,” said Stovall. “What I have learned most is how wonderful North Carolinians are. They are giving, kind and uplifting. We are truly blessed to live here. When I was crowned last year I was thinking ‘How will I inspire others to serve?’ but now I realize that I was the one inspired by all the people I met.”
Susan Kluttz, Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources, was there to thank the women for bringing focus to the arts in North Carolina. “This has been an exciting year in the arts because of Beth’s leadership,” she said. “This pageant is an important part of North Carolina’s cultural resources. These are some of the most talented women in the state.”
“It has been a whirlwind year,” said Patti Stovall, Beth’s mother. “She’s more confident and can handle anything. This is the best self-improvement program in the world, and it’s free. These girls more relatable. They aren’t on a pedestal. They can talk to kids about their personal experiences and show them that they have a lot in common.”
This year’s contestants are from across the state and range in age from 17- 24 years old. Their afternoon at the Governor’s mansion kicks off four nights of competition, including interviews with judges from all over the country. The week ends with the final 78th annual Miss North Carolina Pageant on Saturday night in Raleigh. The winner will go on to the Miss America pageant to compete for the national title.
“Miss America is changing. It’s about real women serving their communities. You don’t have to be cookie cutter and spend tons of money anymore,” said Beth Stovall. “That’s not what makes you win. It’s about the girl inside.”
The Miss America organization is the largest scholarship organization for women in the world, giving over $45 million in college scholarships each year. Beth Stovall says that when her reign ends this weekend, she plans to return to her undergraduate studies in music and then go on to earn her Masters Degree in music education.