Miss Wayland set to pass crown to successor
October 27, 2010
PLAINVIEW – Lesley Gatlin has had a whirlwind year. Not only was she in several productions in the Wayland Baptist University theatre department, but she also wore the crown as Miss Wayland and got engaged. Add the issue of class work as a junior theatre major at WBU, and she’s been a really busy girl.
But Gatlin wouldn’t have it any other way and has particularly enjoyed her role as the university’s ambassador for the past year. But that part of her life will draw to a close soon as she prepares to crown her successor at the Miss Wayland pageant set for Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. in Harral Auditorium.
The pageant theme is “The Sparkling Diamonds,” with the opening number as a melody of songs from the musical Moulin Rouge. Gatlin said she chose the musical as a backdrop for the pageant due to the overarching theme of confidence and personality.
“A lot of the musical is about cutting loose, and I like that because I have to do a lot of that daily in my various roles,” she said. “I’ve noticed that as we grow up, as a society we let our personalities get smashed down into the routine of life. Sometimes we forget that the joys of life come from letting loose and being who you are in a big way.”
Being who she is earned her the Miss Wayland crown last November as she wowed the judges with a musical number aided by her boyfriend, WBU graduate and theatre veteran Thomas Hoffman, and with her personality and passion for her art. In July, she and Hoffman were engaged, so she’s spent the majority of this fall semester planning a Dec. 18 wedding alongside her other duties.
As for her role as Miss Wayland, Gatlin said her most enjoyable activities involved the Plainview community and getting to connect more with people she did not know. A particular joy was a connection made at Plainview Christian Academy, where she spoke at chapel about connecting with God and was invited back to the campus to help with a student art show.
“I was open and honest about what was going on in my life, and that’s how you connect with youth these days. You have to be willing to admit that life’s not perfect and you have things you deal with as adults too,” she said. “At the art show, I got to encourage them and see the way they connect to the world through the arts, which is my medium.”
Seeing Plainview through different eyes was a definite by product of her year, Gatlin said. As a student from Graham, she said it is common for students to not feel connected to the city aside from the campus itself. This experience opened her up to the community, and she enjoyed meeting prospective students, donors and friends of the university and others who interact with WBU regularly.
She’s enjoyed the process of helping plan and lead rehearsals for the upcoming pageant, especially since the spotlight won’t be on her.
“I get to encourage the girls more than I did last year since there’s no pressure on me to compete,” she said. “I also got to share with them about the experience from my side and help change their perspective on why it’s important.”
Gatlin said she’s proud of the 11 girls vying for the title and has faith that any one of them could follow in her footsteps capably.
“They all have sweet hearts and I have no clue who will win this. They’re all excellent and would represent Wayland well,” she said.
Tickets to the pageant are $5 for general admission and $3 for Wayland students and employees. The pageant includes an opening number, talent competition, evening gown competition and the naming of the five finalists. The finalists then have a final question to answer before the winner and runners-up are named.
Contestants for the pageant are as follows, listed alphabetically:
Jessica Martinez, a sophomore religion/youth ministry major from Twin Falls, Idaho. Sponsored by Fleming-Mays Tower, Jessica is the daughter of John and Shari Martinez and her talent presentation will be singing. She is involved in Baptist Student Ministries and Wayland Singing Women. Her future plans include pursuing a seminary degree and working with junior high students.
Erin Bailey, a sophomore early childhood education major from Plainview. The daughter of Curtis and Lisa Bailey, Erin represents the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. She will be singing for her talent. Erin is in Senate at WBU, Student Union Board, Kappa Delta Pi and the education recruitment team. She plans to teach kindergarten at a private school.
Kady Pryde, a senior biology and religion major from Abilene. Sponsored by Sigma Phi Lambda, Kady is the daughter of Debra Pryde and Eric Pryde. She will do a ballet dance for her talent. She is president of Alpha Chi, vice president of Sigma Phi Lambda and is a WBU cheerleader. Her future plans include Physicians Assistant school and medical missions in Central and South America.
Heather Bartley, a junior music education major from Lubbock. The daughter of Clay and Denise Bartley, Heather will be singing for her talent and representing the Pioneer Band. At Wayland she is involved in Student Alumni Council, Band, Jazz Ensemble and the Judicial Council. Her future plans are to be an elementary music teacher.
Devin DeLoe, a senior religion and psychology major from Borger. Sponsored by Alpha Psi Omega, Devin is the daughter of Dewey and Susan DeLoe and will be presenting a monologue for her talent. She is involved in Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Chi and Ministerial Fellowship and is a director of Apostolos mentoring group. Her plans are to become counselor on the mission field in third-world countries.
Jovanna Barrera, a sophomore business administration and finance major from Plainview. The daughter of Joe and Frances Barrera, Jovanna is sponsored by Student Union Board and will be singing for her talent. She works at Hale County State Bank and is a campus tutor. Her future plans involve a career in the banking industry.
Michelle Ritter, a junior elementary education major from Tucson, Ariz. Sponsored by Wayland Singers, Michelle will sing for her talent and is the daughter of Robin and Lucy Ritter. She is in Wayland Singers, the Pioneer Band and works for Alumni Services. Her plans are to become an elementary teacher.
Candace Sain, a junior elementary education major from Canyon. The daughter of Elvis and Conny Sain, Candace is sponsored by Baptist Student Ministries and will sing for her talent. She is on the BSM Leadership Team, Student Alumni Council and Judicial Council. Her future plans include being a special education and elementary school teacher.
Lauren Huckabee, a sophomore elementary education major from Plainview. Sponsored by Wayland Singing Women, Lauren is the daughter of Brad and Brenda Huckabee and will sing and act for her talent. She is in Wayland Singers, Wayland Singing Women, Pioneer Band, helped with Koinonia and is sophomore class secretary. Her future plans include graduate work in education, teaching and foreign mission trips.
Neeca Moody, a senior business administration major from Clyde. The daughter of Gene and Becky Moody, Neeca is sponsored by Students in Free Enterprise. She will do a modern and ballet dance for her talent. She is involved in BSM and works at the Museum of the Llano Estacado. Her future plans are to open her own dance studio and later a home for abused or pregnant women and girls.
Kelli West, a junior elementary education major from Corona, N.M. Sponsored by the Office of Admissions, Kelli will sing for her talent. She is the daughter of Cal and Sherry West. She is involved with Student Alumni Council and the BSM Leadership Team. Her future plans are to teach in a Christian school