Humble Royalty

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On the surface of our campus, there is a celebrity in our midst. With a stunning crown resting upon her golden head, the beauty queen of the town has made a home for herself at LCU. Most of us have seen her around campus or on the university webpage. Several students have asked her the question outright and, as she has affirmed, Miss Lubbock is indeed among us.
“Are you really her?” they ask, “Are you Miss Lubbock?” It can be somewhat deceiving to only know someone by their title. When I recently met with her, I became acquainted with the person, Jacy Etter. I was a little surprised. No one was there to roll out a red carpet. I did not hear trumpets. In fact, we were the only two people in the LCU Mall. Our luck was both good and bad. While it was raining, someone had left an umbrella open, and we stayed dry.
Pageantry brings with it some negative stereotypes. I mentioned the subject before we began discussing anything else. I wanted Jacy to understand I was not the type of reporter to exploit her. The story to be told was not “Miss Lubbock Comes to LCU,” but rather “Jacy Etter is a student at LCU, and she happens to be Miss Lubbock.” Her actions and talents are hers, and they would be hers whether she competed or not. While so many other young women who aspire to wear the crown do fit a certain image we might see when we think of beauty pageants, Jacy does not. To see her interact with people and to understand the work she does with her mentoring program, Jacy’s Jewels and Gems, you can witness a genuine kindness that perhaps is lacking in humanity.
Jacy had several interests growing up. While she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her cousin and compete in pageants, her mother was hesitant and did not allow her to compete. However, Jacy was able to follow her cousin in another way. She started to practice ventriloquism in kindergarten. By the time Jacy was in fifth grade, she began competing with her talent. Later, when Jacy was in high school, the deaths of two of her friends helped in shaping the reality of the fragility of life. Jacy’s mother changed her mind concerning pageantry competition.
While competition breeds a drive for success and finishing in first place, Jacy was humble with such a subject. She explained she did not compete to necessarily win. Her competitive goals are achieved by calling attention to the kids in her mentoring program. Through Jewels and Gems, Jacy has changed lives. She shared the story of a young girl who was nervous about trying out for cheerleading. Through mentoring, Jacy’s motto is to understand failure is okay as long as we continue to try. The young girl did not do well during her tryout, but she took Jacy’s advice and overcame her nerves and competed in her school’s track meet. She finished her event in first place. While competing has brought attention to this organization, Jacy’s crown has given it such a tremendous voice.
This September, Jacy will relinquish the title of Miss Lubbock. Without the title, perhaps others will start to see her for who she really is. She is human. She has quite a lot in common with several people on campus, which is difficult for several to see because they are blinded by her sash. She prefers pepperoni pizza to hamburgers. She lives on campus and attends class like the rest of us. She is even active in social clubs. I knew she had received some scholarships through the Miss America organization, so I asked her why she choose LCU. Jacy’s reply was synonymous with so many other stories I have heard at this school. She felt called by God to attend LCU from the moment she set foot on campus.
I also asked Miss Etter to play a word association game. I said a word, and she told me what came to her mind:
Texas- Big Hearts
LCU- Be Blue
Family- Love and Support (could not succeed without them, traditional family and LCU family)
Zeta Gamma- Sisterhood, support
Church- Safe Place
Dessert- Butter Chess Pie
Lastly, I asked Jacy if she had anything to say to our new freshmen. Looking back on the past year, Jacy said she learned quite a bit about herself and people in general. She loves meeting new people, but she advised our freshman to be careful. Everyone you meet does not have the best of intentions. Get to know people before you choose to associate with them off of campus. I could not agree more.

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