Sunday’s Miss SMC Pageant continues 70-year tradition of service, scholarship

2016 Miss SMC contestants, from left to right: Alyssa Queen, Corin Hewins, Brittany Stokes, Tynia Goode, JoAnna Gorrin, Sarah Grace Reed, Jacosha Simpson. Not pictured: Brittany Warren.


In 1946, Spartanburg Methodist College, then known as Spartanburg Junior College, crowned its first May Queen and began a tradition of selecting a young woman to serve as an ambassador for the college during a year of service in the local and regional community. On Sunday night, when eight SMC students vie for the title of Miss SMC, two former May Queens – Edna Guthrie Grainger, class of 1949 and Joann Hill Waddell, class of 1962 – will be in the audience along with family, friends and students.

Since 2012, winners of the Miss SMC Pageant have been eligible to compete each summer for the Miss South Carolina crown. But more important than a chance at the state title and even a shot at the Miss America crown is the personal development pageant contestants experience, says Kim Caton, director of student activities and leadership development at SMC. “All of the past winners I’ve met, including May Queens from decades ago, talk about how much they learned about themselves during pageant preparation and the appearances they make as Miss SMC.”

Miss SMC contestants must have a platform – a social cause or charitable organization – she will promote as a contestant and, if selected to wear the crown, during her year of service. The winner will promote her platform at public appearances, volunteer opportunities, college events and throughout the community, says Caton. The winner will also participate in activities that promote and raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the official philanthropy of the Miss South Carolina and Miss America organizations. Contestants are raising money through the sale of pioneer hats the week before the pageant. All money raised will be donated to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Of the eight contestants, one winner and two runners-up will be selected by a panel of judges who base their scores on individual interview, onstage question, evening gown, physical fitness and talent. In addition to the title and crown, the winner will receive a $1,000 education scholarship. The first runner-up receives a $500 scholarship, and the second runner-up will take home a $250 scholarship. Special recognition is also given for talent, evening gown and community support.

The 2016 Miss SMC Pageant will take place Sunday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. in Gibbs Auditorium on the Spartanburg Methodist College campus. The event is open to the public, and admission is $5.00.


2016 Miss SMC Contestants (click each contestant’s name for a high resolution image; a high resolution group image is here). 

1. Tynia Goode. Hometown: Spartanburg, South Carolina. Platform: Overcoming Insecurities. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, communications. Talent: Monologue.

2. JoAnna Gorrin. Hometown: Greer, South Carolina. Platform: Depression Awareness. Educational Goal: Master’s degree, psychology. Talent: Dance, “Heartbeat.”

3. Corin Hewins. Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina. Platform: Women Empowerment. Finding the Queen in YOU. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, early childhood development. Talent: Poem, “A Black Woman, Nothing Else.”

4. Alyssa Queen. Hometown: York, South Carolina. Platform: Take a Stand: Stop Relationship Violence. Educational Goal: Criminal Justice, Law. Talent: Lyrical dance, “Note to God.”

5. Sarah Grace Reed. Hometown: Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Platform: Support and Promotion of Local Arts and Arts Education. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, theatre. Talent: Musical Theatre Vocal, “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”

6. Jacosha Nicole Simpson. Hometown: Boiling Springs, South Carolina. Platform: Alleviating the Stigma of Shame for the Victims of Sexual Assault. Educational Goal: Bachelor’s degree, early childhood development. Talent: Jazz dance, “Respect.”

7. Brittany Stokes. Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina. Platform: HIV/AIDS Awareness/Prevention. Educational Goal: Master’s degree, international business. Talent: Dance/Clogging.

8. Brittany Makayla Warren. Hometown: Johnsonville, South Carolina. Platform: Overcoming Insecurities and Peer Pressure. Educational Goal: Master’s degree, accounting. Talent: Guitar and vocals, “Try.”

2016 Miss SMC Pageant Judges:

Charmayne Brown, editor-in-chief/publisher, Rejoice Magazine, Spartanburg.

Jamarcus Gaston, television host and producer for “Studio 62,” Spartanburg.

Holly Hanna, co-owner, Hanna’s Driving School and teacher, Spartanburg School District 6.

Bobby Holcombe, director of financial aid & scholarships, The University of South Carolina Union.

Doretta Osburn, owner/manager of Night Sky Entertainment, Nashville, Tennessee .