UCO pageant prepares for competition
The University of Central Oklahoma Miss Black and Old Gold Scholarship Competition will look different this year due to COVID-related restrictions.
“One of the biggest things that we see first is a smile, so being that you are going to have your mask on that is something that we will have to look at differently when doing scores,” Tobie Mitchell, pageant director, said.
The women will compete for the pageant title — and scholarship money — Sunday.
The pageant competitors can remove their mask onstage when competing alone but are required to keep their masks on when competing as a group or “crowding,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said they have not had any COVID-19 cases within the group.
“We have seven girls so we have been fortunate enough to have larger spaces on campus where we can separate them,” Mitchell said. “They are able to spread out, and they are being conscious of where they are going, who they are around.
“We have been able to get through this whole process without having any COVID scares or someone getting COVID by working together with the pageant,” Mitchell said.
Zion Carter, a second-year competitor said preparation for the pageant with COVID-19 has been a challenge this year.
“Last year, we could hug each other and love on each other, but this year we have to keep a specific distance, and we have to keep our masks on,” Carter said.
The pageant scholarship is funded through events put on by UCO Alpha Phi Alpha and funded through the chapter.
“The Alphas host several events that serve as fundraisers, with COVID that has been a little scarce, “Mitchell said. “It is hard to get people to donate in times where we are all having jobs problems.”
Mitchell added that the girls have multiple ways to fundraise these events.
According to Mitchell, the fraternity has been hosting the event since the chapter was established on UCO campus.
The pageant originally was titled “Miss Black and Gold” in 1976. In 2018, the scholarship pageant changed the name to “Miss Black and Old Gold” Scholarship Competition to promote inclusivity and address concerns about gender-based harassment, according to Scott A. Gibbs, chair of Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Competition. .
“One of the biggest things you get judged on is your style and grace on stage.”