Carrigen Cain has been named the 2015 Northwestern State University Miss Ability. Cain and seven other contestants competed for the title. The annual pageant, held November 19, is an outreach project of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, which aims to raise awareness on behalf of people with disabilities.
Prior to Thursday’s competition, contestants worked together to raise funds and help educate NSU students about the philanthropy. Since 1977, The Ability Experience has raised millions of dollars for and positively impacted the lives of thousands of people with disabilities.
Contestants included junior Essie Winzer from Homer, senior Ariel Fontenot from Lake Arthur, senior Lacey David from Pollock, freshman Kayla Richards from Anacoco, senior Cady Hunt from Bossier City, freshman Madison Farquhar from Haughton, senior Allison Dupre from Houma, and sophomore Carrigen Cain, who is from Pineville.
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 the contestants. Judges included veteran pageant director Lyssa Jenne, NSU microbiology professor Chris Lyles, and NSU director of student activities and organizations Yonna Pasch. Hailey Jhett served as auditor for the evening.
This year’s pageant, hosted by Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet Taylor Walker, was dedicated to the memory of former NSU President Randall J. Webb, who passed away on Wednesday. Webb was a long-time supporter of the fraternity, having developed close friendships with many alumni and students. A tribute video was shown to those gathered in the packed Sylvan Friedman Student Union Ballroom.
Cain, a Criminal Justice major with a minor in pre-law and paralegal studies, is involved in Phi Alpha Delta and teaches yoga at the NSU Wellness Recreation and Activity Center. She will serve as an ambassador for The Ability Experience on the NSU campus during the 2015-2016 school year, playing an important role in motivating students to get involved in awareness and service projects. “I hope to use my title as a positive influence on my peers and guide them in accepting people with all abilities,” Cain said. “I want to change others’ perspectives by setting an example of empathy and compassion.”After graduating, she plans to attend law school.
Farquhar was named first runner-up and Richards was chosen as 2nd runner-up in the competition.
More than a thousand dollars were raised through the pageant and will support The Ability Experience’s programs to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and continue providing service opportunities for members of Pi Kappa Phi nationwide.
Recognizing that service is about more than just fundraising dollars, members of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi reach out to people of all ages and abilities through the philanthopy’s educational, awareness and volunteer programs. This Summer, three members participated in Gear Up Florida, a bicycle trek from Tampa to Tallahassee, Florida. Along the route, riders participate in service projects and raising awareness about disabilities. Another NSU Pi Kapp also participated in Build America, constructing accessible environments at summer camps that support people with disabilities across the country.
To view photos from the event (courtesy: Beta Omicron chapter alumnus Chris Reich), click here: https://www.facebook.com/chrisreichphotography/media_set?set=a.10100615134552841.1073741915.62000191&type=3&pnref=story
You can learn more about how to get involved with The Ability Experience by clicking here: http://www.theabilityexperience.org