April 10, 2018
Senior Music Education major Kayla Barrentine of Canton was crowned as the 62nd Miss ETBU on Saturday, April 7. Barrentine, an active member of the ETBU community as a member of concert choir, Tiger Marching Band, National Association for Music Educators, Association for Texas Professional Educators, and the Baptist Student Ministry, was selected from eight contestants as Miss ETBU 2018 at the annual scholarship pageant sponsored by ETBU's Student Government Association. As Miss ETBU, she receives a generous academic scholarship as well as the opportunity to represent the University throughout the community and region.
"I have been in love with ETBU since I first visited during my sophomore year in high school," Barrentine shared. "During the campus tour, I heard about Miss ETBU and her responsibility to the community. I am honored to have the opportunity to represent East Texas Baptist. The role will enable me to serve Marshall and the surrounding area and apply my abilities as a public speaker and performer."
Alongside her participation in the campus community, Barrentine has been recognized for her work as a Resident Assistant in University Apartments (UA) at ETBU and as an outstanding student by the University Singers. During her time at ETBU, she has made both the President's and Dean's list for academics. As a member of Central Baptist Church in Marshall, she serves with the choir, praise team, Hearts of the Hungry Ministry, and children's ministry. Miss ETBU 2017 Taylor Rowlands, assisted by ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn, passed the crown and encouragement to Barrentine during the ceremony on April 7.
"The position encouraged me to spread the good news of Jesus Christ wherever I went," Rowlands said. "I have been able to serve my University, community, meet inspiring individuals, and advocate for causes that are important to me. It was truly an honor serving as Miss ETBU 2017. My advice to Miss ETBU 2018 is to always walk close to Jesus. I look forward to seeing the Lord continue to work through the role of Miss ETBU in the upcoming year."
Gabrielle Henley of Fort Worth was voted Miss Congeniality, the contestant who earned the respect and admiration of her peers and deemed the most congenial, charismatic, and inspirational participant. Henley is a sophomore English Education major involved in ETBU Women's Soccer as well as Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
"I enjoyed meeting so many amazing people and I am thankful that I walked away from the pageant with seven new friends," Henley said. "It was both rewarding and humbling to be named Miss Congeniality. Participating in Miss ETBU allowed me to share the joy that the Lord provides in every circumstance."
ETBU sophomore Raven Williams of Conroe received First Runner-Up and junior Hayley Rowlands of Houston was named Second Runner-Up. The Best Talent Award was given to junior Ashley Simmons of Texarkana for her spoken word performance of If I Were a Poet. The piece, written by Simmons, recounts her healing process from her father's passing and how she came to rely on the heavenly Father.
"It is a blessing and honor to be affirmed that my gifts and talents are being used for God's glory," Simmons expressed. "The opportunity to participate in Miss ETBU enabled all of us to grow, build relationships, and gain confidence by stepping out of our comfort zones. My experience in the pageant was empowering."