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A spirit that is not afraid

Pianist charms judges in pageant

The Miss Auburn University Scholarship Pageant began with a curtain rising over the Student Activities Center stage to reveal Miss Auburn University 2009 accompanied by 13 contestants vying for the 2010 title.

After a series of events observed by five judges, each comprising a certain percentage of the contestants' final scores, Miss Auburn University 2010 was chosen.

Rebecca Hart, sophomore in communication disorders, was crowned Miss Auburn University 2010, Jan. 29.

The pageant began with a group dance performed by Kimberly Freind, Miss Auburn University 2009, and the contestants to Frankie Ford's "Sea Cruise."

The contestants then individually introduced themselves before yielding the stage to Jacob Watkins, president of the SGA.

Watkins introduced Catherine Crosby Long, emcee for the evening.

Long was Miss Auburn University 2001, Miss Alabama 2003 and a semifinalist in the 2004 Miss America Pageant.

As a seasoned pageant winner, Long said Miss Auburn University is expected to be "a role model for women," a person both "socially conscious and dynamic." The pageant moved to

its first judged event, the onstage question.

Each candidate was required to draw a question from a bowl and respond with her opinion, which counted as 5 percent of her overall score.

Questions covered a wide array of topics, including education, teen pregnancy, campus safety and the role of the social media.

The opinions of the contestants were also widely varied, although education was a theme that surfaced several times.

The onstage questions were followed by another group dance performed by the contestants and the song "If I Could" by guest performer Rachel Evans.

The swimsuit contest was the next portion of the pageant, counting for 15 percent of the contestants' final score.

Each candidate was required to individually walk across the stage for the judges.

This segment was followed by a performance by Freind, a baton routine to "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

Freind's performance was followed by the talent portion of the evening.

This segment was 35 percent of each candidate's overall score.

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A wide range of talents were exhibited, including piano, harp, dance, baton and vocal performances. Hart's 90-second performance was playing the piano. Display of evening wear was the last judged portion of the pageant, counting for 20 percent of each contestant's score.

As in the swimsuit segment, contestants were required to walk, one by one, across the stage for the judges before departing.

This segment of the pageant was followed by a series of performances in order to give the judges time to come to a consensus of the winners of the pageant.

Freind was accompanied by eight Auburn men in a dance routine set to "Rock the Boat," followed by a rendition of "Lately" by Evans.

The contestants then reappeared for a last group dance to "Beyond the Sea," followed by a rendition of "Crazy Train" by the Auburn University Tiger Paws.

Aubie appeared onstage next to perform a brief skit that included a medley of popular music.

Just before the crowning of Miss Auburn University 2010, Freind appeared for her final walk as the reigning queen.

Freind took the opportunity to thank the various people who influenced her during her time of service and to offer words of encouragement to the new pageant winner. The announcement of the pageant winners then commenced, beginning with Haley Bagwell, who was awarded for community service. Kristina Azar was recognized next as Miss Congeniality. Haley Bagwell was then recognized again for winning the talent award for her en-pointe performance. Noelle Jones was awarded the title of fourth runner-up and received a scholarship of $500.

Jordan Hall was named third runner-up and received $1,000.

Kristina Azar won second runner-up and was awarded $2,000.

Haley Bagwell was awarded first runner-up and received $3,500.

Rebecca Hart was finally crowned Miss Auburn University 2010. Hart was awarded $6,972, which is equal to one year's in-state tuition.

Michelle Murphy, executive director of the pageant committee, said there are many aspects to pageants.

"The hardest part of any pageant is making sure that you cover all of the details," Murphy said. "There are so many things that are taken care of behind the scenes leading up to the pageant that people do not know about. This includes contestant paperwork to backdrop design and construction to writing the script to communication with contestants."

Murphy said it takes a lot of people working together to achieve the final product.

Hart will complete a year of service to Auburn University and will be representing her peers throughout the year.

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