April 22, 2020
Haley Harmening, a senior worship studies major from Richmond, Texas, was crowned as the 64th Miss ETBU on Wednesday, April 22. Harmening, who is actively involved at ETBU and in the surrounding East Texas community, was selected from 8 contestants during the annual pageant sponsored by ETBU’s Student Government Association. Sophomore speech communication major Bailey Snow was selected as first runner up, and junior elementary education major Cayce Billingsley was selected as second runner up.
“Representing our University as Miss ETBU is such an unexpected honor,” Harmening said. “This is going to be a platform for God and God alone! I will do my part to serve our community, to remain involved in as much as possible on campus, to love everyone as Jesus would, and to be a light on the Hill. My fellow Tigers are so important to me and I truly want the best for our institution. I pray that in my reign as Miss ETBU through the 2020-2021 school year, people see Jesus, and not Haley.”
Throughout her time at ETBU, Harmening has been actively involved on campus through participation in Hilltop Singers, Lampsato Worship Band, Chapel Band, Concert Choir, ETBU Theatre, Marching Band, and has served as a Tiger Camp leader.
“Being involved at ETBU has shaped my entire college experience,” Harmening said. “If I would not have chosen to be a part of our campus life, I would not have the well-rounded experience that I have today. Being apart of campus life has taught me to prioritize, to be intentional about meeting new friends and becoming a well-rounded person, it's helped me make such fond memories and I have grown spiritually like I could have never imagined.”
Due to restrictions and safety precautions regarding the COVID-19 health crisis, the University had to pioneer new ways to carry on the time-honored tradition. Each contestant went through an online interview and question-and-answer process, in addition to the usual online vote by students, faculty, and staff.
“Despite the challenging circumstances we wanted to maintain as many aspects of this important and long-standing tradition as possible,” ETBU Dean of Students Blair Prevost said. “Thanks to the adaptability of our contestants and judges we were able to conduct the interview as well as question and answer portions of the selection process by video conference. We have been conducting the student, faculty, and staff voting online for many years, so that was unchanged.”
The evening wear and talent portions of the pageant were removed this year, as was the traditional reception that unites all former Miss ETBU winners with the current year’s contestants. Miss ETBU 2019 Ronni Ward shared words of encouragement for Harmening, who did not have the customary pageant experience due to the circumstances.
“Serving as Miss ETBU 2019 was the absolute time of my life. From serving in the community of Marshall to travelling the world to Tokyo Japan and working in the mission field, I have seen God move in so many ways,” Ward said. “To Miss ETBU 2020, you are taking on this role in a time where everything seems so uncertain, but please remember that we serve a God that has already written this chapter that we are living out. Hold your head high and know that this title is going to bring you opportunities that you never imagined and memories that will last a lifetime. ETBU is a place we call home, and now you represent us all, wear your crown proudly.”
As Miss ETBU 2020, Harmening receives a generous academic scholarship as well as the opportunity to represent the University throughout the community and region.
“I'm most looking forward to the new relationships that are waiting to be formed,” Harmening concluded. “I am thrilled to stand alongside Dr. Blackburn and the faculty and staff to show people that our university is different because of the love of Christ. I believe that there will be many experiences I'm not expecting that will help me grow as a person and young adult, and I choose to embrace the future. This school year is going to be phenomenal and I am anticipating the good works of God!”