Pi Kappa Phi hosts pageant to raise funds and awareness to benefit people with disabilities

Pi Kappa Phi hosts pageant to raise funds and awareness to benefit people with disabilitiesJunior Amy Dodson has been named the 2011 Northwestern State University Miss Push America. Dodson and 16 other contestants competed for the title. The pageant, an outreach project of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, aims to raise awareness on behalf of people with disabilities.

Prior to the competition, contestants were encouraged to raise funds and awareness for the fraternity’s philanthropy, Push America.

Since 1977, Push America has raised millions of dollars for and positively impacted the lives of thousands of people with disabilities. Thursday’s contestants included Jessi Nuss, Alyson Humphrey, Amy Dodson, Shannon Byrd, Brittny Cain, Brittany Jeanice, Whitney Irvin, Logan Wallace, Chelsea Giles, Tiffany Hudson, Hayley Wilson, Meaghan Foucheux, Gillian Brown, Patience West, Amy Pogue, Heather Ray, and Ashley Rogers.

The overall winner was selected based on judges’ scoring from interviews, fitness/sportswear, evening gown, and an on-stage question. A non-scoring talent portion included performances by contestants.

Miss Push America Amy Dodson will serve as an ambassador for Push America on the NSU campus during the 2011-2012 school year. “I am so proud to represent Push America and work to help my fellow students gain a greater understanding of disabilities,” Dodson said.

An English major from, Ragley, Louisiana, Dodson aims to become an “awesome teacher” and work at the same school as her father. She hopes to become their cheer sponsor and assist in guiding many of the extra-curricular activities offered by the school. Her interests include shopping, spending time with friends and family, as well as cheering on the NSU Demons.

2nd runner-up was Hayley Wilson and 1st runner-up was Tiffany Hudson.

More than $3,000 was raised through the pageant and will support Push America’s programs to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and continue providing service opportunities for members of Pi Kappa Phi nationwide.

The NSU chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity regularly engages its members in service projects on behalf of Push America. Most recently, members participated in a cycle-a-thon and camped out on a scaffold for 48 hours to raise money and awareness. Last summer, one member participated in the Journey of Hope, a cross-country bicycle ride from San Francisco, CA to Washington, DC. Along the journey, riders participate in service projects and raising awareness about disabilities. Members have also participated in Gear Up Florida, a two-week cycling trip across Florida, fashioned in the likeness of the Journey of Hope.

Beta Omicron Chapter president Scott Mayeaux and friend of the fraternity, Whitney Mixon, organized the pageant. Mayeaux said Push America is gaining recognition on the NSU campus. “We are providing unmatched experiences for our members to be leaders in their community. Service through Push America only furthers that effort,” said Mayeaux. “Most of all, we want to help spread a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities.”