Page takes turn as Miss Wayland 2013
PLAINVIEW – Amanda Page has a plan.
Being Miss Wayland wasn’t part of it.
Page moved to Plainview to live with and care for her 93-year-old grandfather, longtime Plainview businessman John Page, as well as continue her education. She has taken no fewer than 19 hours per semester since starting school and will graduate from Wayland Baptist University with her bachelor’s degree in English next May, completing her degree in three years. She plans to attend graduate school, earn her master’s and doctoral degrees and find a position teaching college English by the time she is 30. All the while, continuing her humanitarian work which, to this point, has included starting a nonprofit organization to benefit the homeless in Bend, Org. -- a fairly impressive resume for a 23-year-old.
Throw in the fact that she writes a blog targeting college women and promoting college life, sings, plays the ukulele, and never fails to get her grandfather to McDonald’s in time for breakfast with his friends, and you can see why spending time rehearsing and competing for the title of Miss Wayland was not high on her list of priorities … until someone talked her into it.
“As you can tell,” Page smiled, “I like to overcommit a little bit.”
The daughter of Garry and Ann Page, Amanda grew up in Plano. While familiar with Plainview and Wayland the thought of pursuing her education at the West Texas school never really crossed her mind even though her father and uncle, J. Don George who pastors Calvary Church in Irving, are both WBU graduates.
“I grew up coming to Plainview every year for my whole life,” Page said. “We would come the July 4 week because my grandfather’s birthday was July 5 so we would make a big family trip. I knew Wayland, I knew Plainview, but I don’t know why I just never thought about coming here.”
After graduating from high school, Page attended a school in Florida. Her sister was a student there at the time, but Page didn’t feel like Florida was the place for her. She left school and took a few years off from education. Her time was well spent, however, as she began working with the homeless. Page and a friend volunteered two days a week to work with a ministry at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Dallas, providing meals to the homeless.
“It was set up where it wasn’t really like a soup kitchen,” Page said. “It was restaurant style and you were a server to the tables. You got to know the people and they had a fun experience.”
Page said the experience made an impression on her life. Over time she and her friend developed lasting relationships with many of the people they served, some of whom Page remains in contact with by sending letters to the church which are delivered to the individuals.
“We realized very quickly that we couldn’t really change anybody’s situation, but we could give them all we had to offer which was our friendship,” Page said.
During that time, Page said some of her friends moved to Bend, an area of the country that was hit hard by recession. Page said her friends, knowing she had been working with a nonprofit organization, contacted her and asked if she would move to Oregon to assist in setting up an organization that would benefit the homeless there.
“[Bend was] really hit hard by the economy,” Page said. “Living in Dallas, I didn’t really see the hit as much. I moved to Bend and it was like, ‘Oh!’ This is what the news is talking about.”
Many of the middle class had lost their jobs and homes and were living on the streets or in tent cities.
Page and her friends set up an organization that coordinated a network of doctors, dentists and other groups that would donate their time and services once a month to help those who were less fortunate. In time, they combined efforts with another nonprofit organization to set up a network using technology to benefit the homeless. If someone needed something specific, they would contact others in the network and find a way to have the goods or services donated.
“Using the technology like that made it to where we could meet the needs very quickly,” Page said. “It was really fun to be part of it, and it is still going on now.”
But it was the need of her own family that drew her to Plainview. As her grandfather fell into declining health, Page moved to Plainview to care for him. She also wanted to continue her education so she enrolled at Wayland. Although Page had never really considered Wayland as an option, what she found was a warm and inviting environment where her professors really seemed to care about her.
“I feel like a person with them,” Page said. “I feel like they want to see their students succeed.”
Leading her list of caring professors is Dean of the School of Languages and Literature Dr. Cindy McClenagan.
“She is doing what I want to do,” Page said. “And she is doing it in such a way that she is an inspiration to her students. She cares about your schooling, but she cares about you.”
Page said there have been periods when she spent a good deal of time at the heart hospital with her grandfather. Dr. McClenagan and others were always there to make sure she had the freedom and support to care for her grandfather and still work with her to meet the classroom requirements.
It was Dr. McClenagan and the School’s administrative assistant Annette Coon who persuaded Page to compete for Miss Wayland.
“I told them no,” Page smiled. “I’ve never done a pageant. That is kind of not in my realm of things to do, I guess.”
But McClenagan and Coon wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.
“They said that I should try something outside of my box. They thought I would really enjoy it,” Page said. “I’m really glad that they pushed me around.”
Sponsored by the School of Languages and Literature, Page joined the competition, not knowing any of the other 15 girls competing.
“I was a little intimidated going into a room full of girls fighting for one position,” she said. “That is not something I would put myself into, but everyone was so wonderful. I made 15 new friends.”
Although rehearsing for several hours each night for a month prior to the pageant was difficult and time-consuming, Page said she really enjoyed getting to know each of the contestants and she has fully embraced what it means to be Miss Wayland and to represent the school to the community of Plainview.
“I have always loved public speaking,” said Page, who as a young girl got to meet Zig Ziglar whom she admired. “When I was told I would have the opportunity to speak about Wayland and promote the school around town, I thought that would be such a fun opportunity.
As her reign as Miss Wayland begins, Page is looking forward to promoting Wayland and its programs. She said Wayland has offered her so many opportunities that she probably would not have had at a larger school and she will forever be grateful.
“I have so many heartstrings attached to (Wayland),” Page said. “I love this school.”
For information on booking Miss Wayland to speak at civic, public or school events, contact the Office of Student Leadership at 806-291-3753 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.