The third annual Miss Sound of the South pageant was held Sunday, Oct. 4, and Rachel Arnold, a freshman graphic design major from LaGrange, Georgia, took the crown.
The pageant serves as a fundraising event for the Kappa Kappa Psi fraternity and Tau Beta Sigma sorority.
Each year, the proceeds raised are donated to the Alabama chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in memory of Steven Dobarzinksi.
Dobarzinksi, a former trombonist for the Sound of the South and a brother of Kappa Kappa Psi, passed away in 2002 after battling leukemia for seven months.
Upon his death, both organizations felt compelled to create something that would honor his life.
“That’s just how the Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma bond works,” said Sam Sizemore, a junior human services major from Geneva and the director of the Miss Sound of the South pageant.
“Our joint hymn states, ‘We honor those who came before us with our strength and unity,’ ” Sizemore said.
“I truly feel that we are helping to keep his spirit alive by our annual fundraisers.”
A total of 19 women, each representing a section of the Sound of the South, competed in the pageant. Each contestant competed in an evening gown contest and a questionnaire round.
“I was absolutely shocked,” Arnold said. “There were so many great contestants, I was not expecting to receive the title at all.”
Although she is a majorette in the Sound of the South, Arnold took the stage to represent the trombone section.
“Pageantry is important because it helps people to feel beautiful and to step out of their comfort zones,” Arnold said.
“It is a great way to raise money for scholarships, to give donations, and to raise awareness for different causes and organizations.”
Kaycee Johnson, Lauren Wright and Kimberly Fredrick finished as first, second and third runners-up, respectively.
Johnson is a trumpet player, Wright is a majorette and Fredrick is a dancer for the Sound of the South.
With about 200 people in attendance, approximately $400 was raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, according to Sizemore.