Midland senior wins title of Miss Wayland

PLAINVIEW – Her reign is less than 48 hours old, but senior Amy Rendon is still in shock at being named Miss Wayland Baptist University.

“I’m still so overwhelmed with joy and am so excited about this,” said Rendon, a senior Spanish major from Midland. “God has given me a gift and a precious moment in my life. I just was to use this for His glory.”

Rendon was crowned Miss Wayland in Saturday night’s 36th annual pageant, where she competed with 16 other students for the title, an honor which brings the role of ambassador for the university.

Rendon represented the Spanish Club and performed a mariachi song in Spanish for her talent, something she’s done since an early age with her grandparents. Involved in Alpha Delta Kappa service sorority and the International Choir, Rendon proved to be a favorite not only among the judges but among her competitors as she also was voted Miss Congeniality for the pageant.

A transfer student, Rendon arrived at Wayland in the fall of 2005 after earning an associate’s degree from Midland College. Church friends encouraged the cheerful Hispanic girl to complete her education at WBU and she planned a visit.

“It felt like home to me, and I could really feel the Lord’s spirit here,” she recalled, adding that she is the first in her family to attend college. “(My family) looks up to me, and they’re inspired by what I’ve done.”

Though Rendon may inspire her family, they’ve provided plenty of inspiration for her life. She claims her love for people came through watching her grandparents serve in churches and in the community. Eventually, the couple quit their jobs and poured their money into the Midland Soup Kitchen Ministry, a place at which Rendon’s mother and aunt began working. Amy’s aunt and uncle now run the ministry.

Amy’s own ministry revolves around her singing talent – she spent the summer singing with a prison ministry and serves on the worship team at Harvest Christian Fellowship – and her native tongue of Spanish, having served as a translator since age 13. She plans to pursue graduate school after graduating in 2008 and wants to be a speech pathologist.

Saturday night’s pageant featured a wide array of talent presentations representing a world of cultures. Besides Rendon’s traditional Spanish song, Arizona native Roxanne Davis performed a Native American dance called “Woman’s Fancy Shawl,” representing her heritage, and others displayed musical talents on the piano, guitar, handbells and in song while others performed dances, sign language, a flag routine and dramatic readings.

The evening gown competition featured each young lady and a taped recording of her personal statement. After the five finalists were named, each answered a final interview question before the audience. All 17 competed in an interview segment with the judges panel on Saturday morning prior to the pageant. Miss Wayland 2006, Celeste Louder of Hereford, played two piano pieces and made her final walk in the last performances of her reign.

Rendon’s court consisted of first runner-up Jordan Kuss, a sophomore education major from Lubbock; second runner-up Callie Wheeler, a senior mass communications major from Whitewright; third-runner-up Abby Holmes, a senior music major from Hobbs, N.M.; and fourth runner-up Ashley Pyeatt, a sophomore religious education major from Plainview.

Other honors presented following the pageant were awards for Best Talent, given to Abby Holmes; Best Interview, given to Ashley Pyeatt and Heather Dillard, a sophomore religion major from Lubbock; and Best Evening Gown, given to Mayra Vargas, a junior biology major from Plainview.

Rodney Watson, director of the Museum of the Llano Estacado, served as emcee for the event, which is organized through the Office of Student Activities. Teresa Moore is coordinator of student activities and Nancy Keith is administrative assistant. The pageant is also organized with help from the outgoing Miss Wayland.

Miss Wayland receives a $750 scholarship along with a package of prizes including scholarship dollars, gift baskets and certificates and beauty services.

Despite the fame and exposure the position may bring, Rendon says her only aim in pursuing the title was to get to know the other contestants and “let Christ shine through me.”

“I watched Celeste all last year and she was such a godly woman and a great role model and I wanted to do that for other young ladies as well,” Rendon said. “But even if I weren’t crowned Miss Wayland, I would still just be me, smiling and loving people.”