November 8, 2010
The third time may be a charm for an Indiana State University senior in her quest for the Miss Indiana title and a chance to represent the Hoosier state at Miss America.
Maggi Stephens, a senior music education major from Freelandville, competed against 15 other women to claim the title of Miss ISU.
Competing for a title and a chance at the Miss Indiana crown is tough, but Stephens had other things on her mind.
"My dad was admitted to the hospital unexpectedly Saturday night," she said. "I drove home to be with my family."
Stephens, the daughter of Jeff and Kathy Stephens, wasn't sure she was going to compete.
"Then I got to thinking ‘Wouldn't it be great to text a photo to my dad with the Miss ISU crown?'" she said.
That was all the motivation she needed. Stephens drove up to Terre Haute on Sunday in search of a crown.
"I felt I had a good chance, but I wasn't confident. It wasn't the best way to compete," she said. "But as a titleholder, you don't get days off and you work through the bad days."
By the time Sunday evening rolled around, Stephens had been crowned by 2010 Miss ISU Taylor Schaffer and texted a photo to her sister, who showed it to her dad.
Miss ISU is the third title Stephens has held. She was Miss Vincennes University in 2008 and Miss Crossroads in 2010.
"I went into my first pageant kicking and screaming," she said, adding she entered Miss Vincennes University so a fellow student would join her in performing a vocal piece.
"He said if I entered Miss VU, he would sing with me," she recalled. "I entered and finished first runner-up. I won the crown the following year. After that first pageant I was hooked."
Like many little girls, she watched the Miss America pageant.
"I never imagined myself as one of those girls," Stephens said, adding that she later learned that there is much more to Miss America.
"By competing for titles and competing at Miss Indiana I've improved skills that I can utilize throughout my life. My interview skills and confidence has improved with each competition."
As a vocalist, competing has made her stay on top of her game.
"Standing on the stage by yourself with hundreds of people watching forces you to be the best that you can be. There is nothing else like it."
Music isn't Stephens' only talent. She also has a knack for writing. Together with her mother, she co-authored "Reaping in Joy," a book about a family's loss.
"When I was in seventh grade my brother Jeremiah died of a brain tumor. My mother wrote down her thoughts about that experience and invited me to write my own chapter," Stephens said. "It was very therapeutic."
As she prepares for Miss Indiana this summer, Stephens will interact and raise money for the Children's Miracle Network and will raise awareness of adoption.
"Adoption has shaped my family and has drastically changed my life for the better," she said. "My aunt and uncle completed an international adoption in 2006, bringing in my beautiful El Salvadorian cousin, Daniela, into the family. In 2006 we adopted my two brothers, now ages 10 and 5. They needed a home and now bring joy and completeness to our family. My passion and personal experience coupled with the position of Miss Indiana State University will give me the opportunity to make my voice heard on the behalf of children awaiting adoption."
The Miss ISU Scholarship Program began in 1958, and Stephens is the 28th winner, receiving a $1500 scholarship. She will now begin preparing for Miss Indiana, which takes place in June 2011 in Zionsville. The Miss Indiana Scholarship Program is a preliminary for the Miss America Scholarship Program.
Contact: Freda Luers, Union Board and Family Services, 812-237-3831
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, 812-237-3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Maggi Stephens earns her third trip to compete for the Miss Indiana crown this summer.