Back in February, Wayne Edwards said he wanted both the Miss North Carolina and Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen crowns in Spivey’s Corner. On a single night last month, he got his wish.
While Miss North Carolina Kate Peacock has been the talk of the town in recent weeks in the wake of beating out 78 other contestants as Miss Dunn on her way to the Miss America Pageant, the Sampson County Board of Commissioners on Monday recognized the teenager who brought home the second crown to the county earlier that same night.
McKenzie Hansley, the reigning Miss Spivey’s Corner, was selected as Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen and will represent the state at the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant on Aug. 1.
A rising senior at Topsail High School, McKenzie was honored for her accomplishments at Monday’s board meeting.
“This is wonderful to have her representing the Spivey’s Corner area,” said Board Chairman Billy Lockamy.
Edwards, Miss Spivey’s Corner Pageant Committee member, facilitated McKenzie’s visit to the meeting, and sang her praises to commissioners and those in attendance.
“It is an extreme honor to have McKenzie Hansley with us tonight,” Edwards said. “McKenzie competed in the Miss Spivey’s Corner Pageant on Feb. 21 and won the Miss Spivey’s Corner Outstanding Teen. On June 20, she was crowned Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen. Now she will represent the State of North Carolina at the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant, which will be held Aug. 1 in Orlando, Fla.”
The last couple weeks, she has made appearances across the state, Edwards said, during which time she has “made not only Spivey’s Corner proud, but Sampson County proud. Her hard work and dedication as Miss Spivey’s Corner has not only brought a lot of recognition to Spivey’s Corner, but Sampson County as well,” he asserted.
Edwards said McKenzie has matured a great deal since just February, and getting to know her and her family has “been a blessing,” he noted.
“It’s just been an awesome experience for all of us,” he said. “In my words, she truly is an outstanding teen. It has just blessed our hearts tremendously for her and her family to be a part of this organization.”
He alluded to his hopeful dream back in February, and beamed now that it has come to fruition.
“She won the Outstanding Teen division (representing Spivey’s Corner) and Kate Peacock won Miss North Carolina, and she lives at Spivey’s Corner,” he said. “So we have a lot to be proud of right here in Sampson County.”
McKenzie said she was grateful for the support and personally thanked Edwards.
“I just wanted to thank Mr. Wayne and all of Sampson County for really supporting me the past couple weeks. It’s really nice to have such a strong community behind you. Mr. Wayne has called and text me at least once a day since I won to make sure I’m still doing OK, getting enough sleep and eating right even though I have a really busy schedule. I just want to thank everyone for being really supportive.”
Commissioner Clark Wooten, whose District 1 encompasses Spivey’s Corner, congratulated McKenzie for her hard work and all she’s done to represent the Sampson County and the rest of the state, while wishing her well on behalf of the county and its board.
“Our wishes and prayers will go along with you,” said Wooten, “and I have all the faith in the world you’ll bring home the Miss America title. Just know we’re here wishing you well.”
Wooten then turned to Edwards, noting his recent distinction as Volunteer of the Year at the 2015 Miss North Carolina Pageant. He offered his thanks to Edwards, who he praised for his volunteerism in Spivey’s Corner and Sampson County, including not just the pageants but fundraising efforts by the Spivey’s Corner Fire Department and through the annual Hollerin’ Contest.
“He’s done a lot,” said Wooten. “He and his family have been pillars of our community ever since I can remember.”
A modest Edwards thanked Wooten and the rest of the board, while again putting the focus on McKenzie.
“She is going to make us proud,” he said.
About volunteering, he had just a few words.
“You’ll never give more than you receive,” Edwards stated.
The board expressed its hope that Peacock might also stop by in the near future, with Wooten requesting an invitation at least be extended.
Peacock is set to compete in The 2016 Miss America Competition on Sept. 13. The pageant is returning to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for its 95th anniversary and will air live at 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, on ABC.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.