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McKenzie grad to compete for Miss Alabama

A newly minted Butler County high school graduate is only days away from another milestone: competing for the first time in the Miss Alabama program. Marissa Kilpatrick, the daughter of Jesse and Pam Kilpatrick of McKenzie and a recent graduate of McKenzie High School, will be vying for the state title in Birmingham in June.

It’s a dream come true for Kilpatrick that came about in an unexpected way. Last September as a high school senior she was selected as first alternate in the Miss Butler County Fair Pageant. When that pageant was chosen to be one of the preliminaries for the Miss Alabama program, there was a problem: 2016’s  Miss Butler County Fair winner was actually too young to participate in the Miss Alabama/Miss America program, where a minimum age of 18 is required.

“The winner recommended that I go in her place. In February of this year at the Miss Relay For Life pageant in Greenville I was asked if I’d compete for Miss Alabama. I said yes—and that’s how it all got started,” says Kilpatrick. “It’s actually always been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to go to Miss Alabama.”

Kilpatrick will perform a baton routine to “Word Up” at the state program. An MHS majorette for three years, she served as a cheerleader before that. Kilpatrick was also active with the FBLA, Beta Club, FSA, the Science Club and played softball while at McKenzie.

Her platform for the state pageant, Sharing Joy Immediate Cancer Care, is one very close to her heart.

“I’ve seen so many younger women as well as older women in our community who have been diagnosed with cancer in the past year. I have an aunt who has survived it five times,” says Kilpatrick, who attended the Butler County Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society earlier this month. “My grandmother lost her battle and right now another aunt in Dothan is dying . . . so it really is a cause close to my heart.”

Kilpatrick will be leaving next Sunday to join young women from across the state at Samford University’s Wright Center for the state program June 7-10. There she will participate in the talent, swimsuit, onstage question and evening wear competitions and also have a private interview with the panel of five judges.

The McKenzie grad says she is most looking forward to spending time with the other contestants while in the Magic City, getting to know them and simply enjoying the entire Miss Alabama experience.

In the meantime, Kilpatrick, who plans to pursue a degree in Esthetics and Cosmetology Management, is busy working alongside mom Pam, who operates Pam’s Creative Styles hair salon in Georgiana.

“I graduated from high school Tuesday night and I’ve been in the shop working all day ever since,” she says with a smile.

The Miss America Organization is the nation’s leading advocate for women’s education and the largest provider of scholarship assistance  to young women in the country, awarding millions of dollars annually. Miss America contestants donate many hours of community service each year and have raised over $15 million for the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and Miss America scholarships since 2007.

Preliminary competitions will be held June 7-9 at 7 p.m. with the final competition June 10 at the same time. Reserved tickets are on sale now and may be ordered by calling the Miss Alabama Pageant office at 205-871-6276.