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ETBU crowns senior Sarah Resendez as Miss ETBU 2023

September 19, 2023

East Texas Baptist University senior humanities major Sarah Resendez, from Shreveport, Louisiana, was crowned the 67th Miss ETBU on Saturday, September 16, in Baker Chapel at the Rogers Spiritual Life Center on the ETBU campus. The Miss ETBU Pageant, sponsored by ETBU’s Student Government Association, is a long-standing tradition that showcases the exceptional qualities of female students and their commitment to Christian values, poise, and scholarship.

“I was so surprised to hear my name called,” Resendez said. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity, but I could not be more shocked. Some of these other girls I knew really well and some of them I didn’t, but it’s been really great to meet everyone and see such a strong group come together for this tradition. I’m excited to be a bigger part of what’s happening on the ETBU campus, and I hope to love people well in all areas of the University life, from students, to alumni, to community members.”

Throughout her time at ETBU, Sarah has served as a resident assistant, student worker for the School of Christian Studies and Humanities, and Thrive peer mentor. She is also actively involved in the University’s Honors Program. Off campus, Sarah attends First Baptist Church in Marshall, and spends her summers working for the international non-profit Hope 4 El Salvador, founded by her parents Erik (’96) and Susan (’09). After earning her degree, Sarah plans to attend law school to pursue a career as an assistant district attorney.

This year, the Miss ETBU Pageant featured 14 contestants, each of whom exemplifies excellence and Christian character in the classroom, campus, and community. Junior english major Andrea Latham was selected as first runner-up, junior marketing major Kendal McAdoo was voted Audience Favorite, sophomore nursing major Mackenzie Lawrence was named Miss Congeniality, and senior elementary education major Chloe Rangel won Best Talent.

“I was impressed with the authenticity and intentionality of each of this year’s participants,” ETBU Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President for Student Engagement Holly Edwards said. “I heard countless times of their desire to know the Lord and make Him known. I believe that every contestant portrayed the value of embracing their faith and being empowered leaders.”

Each contestant underwent an interview, and faculty and staff participated in an online vote to select this year’s top five contestants. During the Spring 2023 semester, Miss ETBU contestants also helped plan and host the inaugural Tiger King showcase, a new event on the University’s campus designed to highlight the achievements of male ETBU students in academics, Christian leadership, and community involvement.

During the Miss ETBU Pageant, contestants participated in a group dance, had the opportunity to showcase their talent, and the top five delivered passion speeches.

The winner of the Miss ETBU Pageant is awarded a generous academic scholarship, supporting her educational journey. Additionally, Miss ETBU has the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the University, representing the institution throughout the community and the East Texas region.

At the close of the pageant, reigning Miss ETBU Haleigh Akin shared about her experience and encouraged the 2023 participants before crowning Resendez the new Miss ETBU. Akin graduated from ETBU in Spring 2023 and serves as the elementary coordinator for the children’s ministry at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas.

“It has been a great joy and pleasure of mine to have spent so much time with the girls in this year’s pageant,” Akin said. “I know each of them will go on to empower others by speaking truth and pointing others to Christ. Miss ETBU has given me the great opportunity to make connections and develop an appreciation for the hard work of the people in our community, and a deeper love for the students, faculty, and staff on our campus. While wearing the crown does not set me apart from the student body, it has opened my eyes and truly grown me in so many ways.”