Rebecca Sargent


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College Heights Herald article regarding the end of the Miss Western pageant.

Last year, Franklin senior LeAnn Chaney was the last woman to be crowned at the Miss Western Pageant.

Miss Western was a preliminary pageant to the Miss Kentucky America pageant and a stepping stone to the Miss America competition. But this year, no winners will be crowned. Miss Western is a thing of the past.

Pageant coordinator Judy Woodring asked to no longer be responsible for the competition because she has too many other responsibilities.

"I loved the students," Woodring said. "But it was too much of a time factor for me to handle the pageant plus forensics for Western and the Kentucky High School Speech League.

Woodring said that the bad publicity surrounding the pageant had very little to do with her stepping down from handling it.

Last year, a Western student, Lisa Caswell, wanted to enter the pageant but was not allowed to enter because she had a child. According to the rules of the Miss America pageant, all contestants must not have been married or pregnant.

A controversy arose after Caswell contacted the American Civil Liberties Union about suing Western for discrimination.

Deborah T. Wilkins, Western's attorney, said the school did nothing wrong.

"She (Caswell) never filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission," Wilkins said. "And she never submitted an application to enter the pageant."

Wilkins said Caswell's age was what kept her from being in the pageant, not her child.

"She was too old," Wilkins said. "If it was up to me, I would have said let her be in the pageant, but these aren't Western's rules, they're the Miss America rules."

Western decided that the pageant was not academically oriented and that is why they are not hosting it anymore.

As for the last Miss Western, Chaney received a $1,000 scholarship for winning the pageant.

"The scholarship money helped me a lot," Chaney said. "It was a great opportunity for me and I'm glad I was able to experience it."


Western Kentucky University, Beauty Queens, Discrimination


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