Toochi Ngwangwa was crowned Miss Freshman 2005 out of a group of 11 contestants Sunday night during a pageant ceremony emphasizing students’ academic achievements, community service participation, creativity and personality.
The Miss Freshman Pageant, which focused on the theme “Excellence: Unified through Purpose and Poise,” was hosted by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and was open to all freshmen. At Sunday’s final ceremony in the Marvin Center Ballroom, students involved in the event were judged based on their talent performances, interviews and evening wear presentations.
Prior to the pageant, participants attended workshops on ballroom dancing, etiquette, professional development and money management. The contestants accumulated points by participating in these events and by making bag lunches for two local shelters and fundraising through advertisement sales.
Ngwangwa, who received a $1,000 scholarship for first place, garnered enthusiastic applause during her performance of an original poem, and the crowd cheered when, during the interview portion, she said her most prized possession was her identity. Despite taking home the crown, Ngwangwa said all of the contestants should feel proud of how far they came since the start of pageant preparations.
“We all win,” she said. “We practiced hard every day and every night, and we came together. We share this crown.”
Freshman Macy Jenkins was first runner-up, and freshman Nadia Sesay came in as second runner-up. They received $500 and $250 scholarships, respectively. Freshman Teiko Akufo’s enthusiasm and positive disposition during the pageant were recognized by judges, and they gave her the title Miss Congeniality.
This year’s contest was the fourth Miss Freshman Pageant at GW. The pageant is a tradition for the GW chapter of Alpha Kappa and was revived this year because of the chapter’s return to campus last year.
Although the participants competed against each other for the crown, most said they had a great time together and enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of the pageant.
Contestants and organizers alike agreed that the pageant was far from ordinary.
“People usually think pageants are all about beauty, but this has nothing to do with that,” freshman and participant Ivie Guobadia said. “At least not with outward beauty; it’s more about inner beauty and the hard work that all of us put into this.”
Other contestants said they enjoyed the workshop component of the event because they were able to learn new skills.
“I did think that they were very beneficial. In the one about etiquette I learned what to do in an interview, which was helpful,” freshman Ursula Anderson said. “It will be good to know when I’m trying to find a job in the future.”
Friends and family of the contestants and sorority members gathered in the Marvin Center ballroom decorated with pink, silver and black balloons. Several groups of students were there to support their classmates, and one group held a sign saying, “We love our ladies.”