May 18, 2023
Another year at Oklahoma Panhandle State University is well under way, and the Mr. & Miss Panhandle State Scholarship Competition has once again come to a close. On Wednesday the 18th, spectators gathered at the Centennial Theater to see who would be crowned Mr. and Miss Panhandle State. With excitement in the air, the contestants took to the stage to compete for a $2,000 scholarship and the opportunity to represent Oklahoma Panhandle State University at numerous events throughout the year. However, there could be only one set of winners. Coming in the 3rd place for Mr. Panhandle State was Jake Hawkins, while Zion Byrd came in 2nd. For Miss Panhandle State, MacKenzie Leach came in 4th, with Sarah Wood in 3rd, and Calie Rutherford coming in 2nd.
The winner of Miss Panhandle State is none other than Lara Allen. Lara is a junior from Cushing, OK. She is majoring in Ag Education. Her future career plans includeÃ¢â‚¬Â¯becoming an Agriculture Education instructor and FFA adviser for high school students. She plans to stay in Oklahoma as a teacher after graduating, and advocate for vocational education on the local and state levels. While this is her first semester at OPSU, she has already become active on campus by becoming an OPSU Student Ambassador, Student Government Representative, and a member of the Collegiate FFA Chapter. Lara enjoys working with her hands and is practicing leather working. In fact, if you take a look in some of her notebooks you’ll see an array of patterns she has sketched. So far, Lara loves the feeling of acceptance and encouragement that you get from faculty and staff as soon as you step on the OPSU campus. She said, “Everyone here genuinely wants to see you succeed and is willing to do what they can to help you do that.”
The Mr. Panhandle State winner is Brett Munsch. Brett is a senior this year at OPSU. Originally from Boise City, OK, Brett is majoring in Animal Science with a minor in History. After college, Brett hopes to become a USDA Meat Grader and/or Inspector. On campus, Brett is involved with the History Club and Student Senate. Brett is active in the community serving as a lector and helping to maintain the grounds and facilities of his church. He also helps at the local food pantry whenever possible. His favorite thing about OPSU is the close-knit community of OPSU’s student body.
The Mr. and Miss Panhandle State Competition is hosted by OPSU’s Phi Beta Lambda business club, and is sponsored by the Student Government Association under the direction of Kim Smith and Dr. Sara Hitch.
OPSU President, Dr. Tim Faltyn, was also happy with the way the competition turned out saying, “We are so excited to have two great students as Mr. and Miss Panhandle State. Kim Smith and Dr. Hitch did an excellent job breathing life back into this competition.”
When asked about the competition, Mrs. Smith had this to say, “It has been really exciting to see this program evolve and grow since last year. All of the candidates find this program to be a positive experience where they are challenged to get out of their comfort zone. Plus, the candidates make new connections with like-minded high achieving students from across all areas of campus. I am honored to be a part of this rejuvenated tradition and look forward to the opportunities Lara and Brett will have as the new titleholders.”
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