Grace Claire Cordes, a sophomore from Vicksburg, Miss. will return to her hometown in late June to compete for the title of Miss Mississippi after qualifying for the event by winning the 2011 Miss University of Southern Mississippi Pageant Saturday night.
Cordes bested a field of 18 Southern Miss student contestants for the title. First alternate was Elizabeth Kiehn, a junior from Meridian, Miss.; second alternate was Kimberly Page, a freshman from Ellisville, Miss.; third alternate was Breanne Ponder, a senior from Mount Olive, Miss.; and fourth alternate was Brandi Jarvis, a sophomore from Ocean Springs, Miss.
Cordes is a vocal performance major, a Luckyday Scholar and a member of Chi Omega and the Southern Miss Opera and Musical Theatre Outreach Program. She is the daughter of Dale and Lyn Cordes.
“I feel very honored right now to represent my university as Miss University of Southern Mississippi,” she said afterward. “I look forward to reaching out to promote my platform (music education in schools) as I prepare for the Miss Mississippi Pageant.”
Brooks Moore, associate dean of students at Southern Miss and advisor for the pageant, said “Grace is a very talented student and a gifted vocalist whose onstage composure is very impressive. She is a sweet young woman who is loved by her classmates, and I know she will do a great job representing the university in this role.”
The event was presented by the Southern Miss Student Government Association SGA). Contestants competed for nearly $3,000 in scholarship funds, and also raised more than $2,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network while preparing for the event.
“Tonight really raised the bar for the pageant,” said SGA President Erick Brown. “I look forward to what comes next year.”