Ten women who are either students or alumnae of the University of Tennessee at Martin will take part in the 2023 Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant.
The winner of the pageant will qualify for the Miss Volunteer America Pageant held June 19-22, 2024, in Jackson, Tennessee. All 50 states take part in that national pageant. The winner of the Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant crown will also serve as the governor’s spokesperson for character education and receive $25,000 in scholarship money.
The Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant began its interviews with the contestants on July 24 and will continue through July 29. Preliminary competitions will be held July 26-28 at 7 p.m. nightly at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson. The finals will begin at 6:45 p.m. July 29.
Contestants must win one of 36 preliminary regional pageants to qualify for the Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant.
The five current UTM students taking part in the pageant this week – along with their regional pageant title and pageant platform – are:
• Senior Kareena Caralee Rainey of Adamsville, Miss Tennessee Soybean Festival Volunteer, American Red Cross
• Senior Alyssa Kaye Wade of Paris, Miss Paris Volunteer, Better Health, Better Wealth: Promoting Enrichment in Mental Health
• Sophomore Maleia Raine Bigham of Turtletown, Miss Springtime Volunteer, Advocating for the Arts
• Sophomore D’Ambrah T. Watts of Jackson, Miss., Miss Midtown Volunteer, Understand Beforehand
• Sophomore Carsyn Hughes of Franklin, Miss Davidson County Volunteer, Every Girl Counts
The five UTM alumnae taking part in the pageant week – along with their regional pageant title and pageant platform – are:
• Sable Leigh Estes, Class of 2019, of Trenton, Miss McNairy County Volunteer, Building Resilience
• Caleigh Jo Erwin, Class of 2021, of Dyersburg, Miss UT Martin Volunteer, LUPUS: Living Under Pressure Ultimately Surviving
• Kim Gordon, Class of 2022, of Brooksville, Miss West Tennessee Volunteer, Happy Smiles
• Meghan K. Poore, Class of 2022, of Medina, Miss TriStar Volunteer, The Gift of Time
• Emily F. Pennington, Class of 2023, of McMinnville, Miss Northwest Tennessee Volunteer, Embracing the Elderly
The Miss Volunteer Pageant program began in January 2019. Christine Williamson, who had been crowned Miss Tennessee 2018, vacated her crown and became the first Miss Tennessee Volunteer.
The following year, Kerri Arnold, a UTM junior who had also won Miss Scenic City, became the first winner of the Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant.
The reigning Miss Tennessee Volunteer is Paige Clark, who had previously won Miss Knoxville and was a student at Johns Hopkins University.
The Miss Tennessee Volunteer Pageant awards scholarships to its participants. Each contestant will receive a $1,000 scholarship just for competing at the state level. Additional scholarships are awarded based on how the contestants finish. Other scholarships are awarded in categories like community service, academics and congeniality.
The 60th Miss UT Martin Pageant is scheduled to be held Sept. 10 at Watkins Auditorium in the Boling University Center.