Welsh Family Hall sophomore crowned Miss ND
Thomas Murphy | Friday, February 23, 2018
Sophomore Christina Murray of Welsh Family Hall was crowned Miss ND in O’Neill Hall’s signature event Thursday evening.
The annual pageant supports South Bend’s Center for the Homeless. The organization, founded in 1988 by two Notre Dame faculty members, seeks to meet the immediate needs of the homeless while preparing them for future success.
According to the pageant’s program, the Center assists “its 200 or more homeless men, women, mothers with children and military veterans [to] break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in which they find themselves.”
“The shelter does not only shelter the homeless temporarily … they also set them up for success so that they’re no longer in that position,” junior Nick Martinez, the event’s organizer, said.
Last year’s Miss ND pageant raised $1,400 for the shelter, and Martinez hoped that this year would raise even more for the shelter.
The pageant itself was hosted by sophomores Brendan Kopf and Andrew Looney, both residents of O’Neill Hall, and included volunteer contestants from each female residence dorm. After being given the opportunity to show off their individual talents, they were then judged by a panel of four celebrity judges.
This year’s panel included South Hall Dining monitor Pam Hardy Jobin, junior Jerry Tillery — an O’Neill Hall resident and Notre Dame football player — Miss South Bend 2016 Gina Klingel (’14) and sophomore Madelyn Steurer, who holds the title of Miss Great Lakes 2018.
Some of the talents performed by this year’s contestants included the ability to post on Facebook, performed by junior Emily Aberle of Flaherty Hall, catching food in one’s mouth — a skill that became progressively more impressive as the food graduated to larger objects such as broccoli — by sophomore TC Burrows of Lewis Hall and a pair of stand-up comedy routines by sophomores Anne Jarrett of Howard Hall and Mary K Wentzel of McGlinn Hall.
Martinez said the emphasis on the talent segment of the pageant is important to assuring that the pageant doesn’t suffer any of stigmatization common in pageants.
“When you hear pageant, you think of big fancy dresses, heels, walking and strutting down the runway,” he said. “We don’t do anything of that sort. We encourage the girls to do whatever they’re comfortable with. We tell them all that it’s absolutely their choice whatever they want to come out wearing and do as their talent. That’s kind of how we shift away from [the stigma of pageants] and highlight some cool talents we have on campus.”
Martinez said although not all the talents performed were traditional, they were all praiseworthy because of the confidence required to perform them on stage.
“Coming out here alone is a talent enough,” he said. “Being able to give up some of your pride, maybe make a fool of yourself on that stage to try to help raise some money for some vulnerable people who live down the street from us, that’s really amazing.”
Following the talent show portion of the event, the judges chose three contestants to move on to a question and answer portion. The first round of questions was directed towards Burrows.
When asked how she embodies the spirit of Miss ND, Burrows said “I’m goofy, I’m positive — that’s Notre Dame.”
Next for questioning was junior Gemma Stanton of Farley Hall. Stanton, who had played the fiddle as her talent, was asked, among other things, to identify on a diagram what the heart does in the body. Stanton responded that the heart oxygenates the blood, but her answer was incorrect, as the hosts announced that the correct answer was that the heart “loves.”
The final questions were for Murray, who had performed a baton twirling routine. Murray said in response to a question that she hoped her legacy would be her baton twirling and then formed a kneeling pyramid with the event’s hosts.
After discussion between the judges, Murray was crowned Miss ND 2018. Jobin said she was impressed by Murray’s performance and overall presentation, and looks forward to returning for next year’s pageant.
“The way she dressed when she came out, how she was organized — she was really good,” she said. “This is my third year and I just love [the pageant], and I’ll threaten [O’Neill Hall] to do it again next year.”
Murray said she was happy to receive the title of Miss ND and enjoyed being able to share her baton twirling with those in attendance.
“It feels fantastic. I’m so glad that the judges chose me to get this title. It’s really an honor,” she said. “I love baton twirling and I’m so glad that I could give my talents to everyone and I’m glad that everyone like it. It was a great audience.”