Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer
Eight elegant contestants took the Barfield Drawing Room stage in the Bill Daniel Student Center with big smiles and beaming confidence that rivaled their sparkling floor-length gowns.
Nearly 100 friends, family members and others in between came out to the three-hour-long 25th annual Miss Black and Gold pageant Sunday night. Hosted by the Tau Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, this pageant highlights feminine poise by offering scholarships to the top three contestants who were the most well-rounded.
The contestants were judged by a five-person panel on their achievements and projections, creative and performing arts, poise and appearance and oral expression, in addition to an interview with the judges prior to the pageant.
Pageant chair and Fort Worth senior Christian Broussard has had the taxing, sometimes stressful chore of overseeing the event filled with last-minute things that needed to be done. Throughout the preparation for the event, Broussard was able to see the women become increasingly more comfortable.
“It was very interesting watching people breaking out of their shells, watching people getting really out of their comfort zones and I think I can say that each girl did that,” Broussard said. “It was great for me to watch these ladies come alive in front of an audience.”
One of the contestants was Signal Hill, Cali., freshman Saumyah Bedford who was awarded Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants. Along with Bedford was the second runner-up, Longview sophomore Kierra Batiste, winning $500, first runner-up Long Island, New York junior Sophia Brice, winning $1,000, and the crowned winner.
2017 Miss Black and Gold and Houston junior Andrenita Achane was nearly speechless when presented with this opportunity. Along with winning the title, Achane earned Miss Goodwill for selling the most advertisements and Miss People’s Choice for having the greatest amount of guest donations.
“It feels great. I’m so excited. I’m so glad that I had this opportunity to be a part of this and Alpha Phi Alpha is a great organization and I’m just very grateful to be the next Miss Black and Gold,” Achane said. “It’s just a beautiful experience. I’m really shocked. It’s so great; I’m just so excited.”
Along with the Alpha Phi Alpha members, the contestants received guidance and leadership from longtime pageant coach Lindsey Fortner. Watching the event, Fortner felt like a proud mother looking at the contestants performing in what they spent so long preparing for.
“We work on every aspect of the pageant and we just drill it over and over again until they perfect it,” Fortner said. “It’s great to see them grow from day one to now, the pageant, is great.”
Knowing Andrenita prior to the event, Broussard was pleased to see that all her hard work was rewarded.
“I know Andrenita personally and I know she has a heart of gold and she’s put in a tremendous amount of work for this pageant,” Broussard said. “I’m grateful that she was able to see her hard work come to fruition.”
Even after Achane was announced as the winner it may have been hard to tell who actually won because all the contestants were still wearing bright smiles and surrounded by their loved ones. While Achane was being crowned, the audience, full of Sascee’s Southern Eatery catering, was singing Steve Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” while fellow contestants hugged and congratulated her gently so no makeup would be ruined.
Sunday night highlighted eight Baylor students who crafted their talent and represent some of the best and brightest at Baylor. This event kicked off Alpha Phi Alpha’s week of festivities.