Crowds cheer for Haik

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sunday was officially “Katherine Haik Day” in the city of Franklinton, as a variety of local, state and national dignitaries congratulated the city’s own 2015 Miss Teen USA.

Haik, a 15-year-old sophomore at Franklinton High School, won the national pageant Saturday, Aug. 22. After a week in New York City making media appearances and attending photo shoots, she returned home Monday, Aug. 31, where a crowd cheered her family as they drove back into town.

On Sunday, the celebration continued, as Haik was honored with a parade through downtown Franklinton. High school bands and cheerleaders joined the smiling beauty pageant winner as the parade travelled past the crowds before ending at the Washington Parish Fairgrounds.

At the fairgrounds’ main stage, Haik’s accomplishments were celebrated once more in a special ceremony.

“There is nothing I can add to the accolades that have already been bestowed upon you,” said ceremony emcee Richard Knight. “We have been extremely blessed to have you in our community.”

Haik received a large number of gifts and certificates from nearly every government official associated with the city of Franklinton or Washington Parish. Those officials included a representative from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office; U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, who presented Haik with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition; and Franklinton Mayor Wayne Fleming, who read a proclamation officially designating Sept. 20, 2015, as “Miss Katherine Haik Day.”

State Sen. Ben Nevers also spoke glowingly about Haik.

“There are many things that Washington Parish is known for, but the most outstanding thing is our beautiful women,” Nevers said, drawing laughs from the audience. “And there is no one more beautiful than Katherine.”

Summer Sammons, representing state Rep. Harold Ritchie’s office, presented Haik with a resolution from the State House of Representatives.

Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette gave Haik the “key to the city” — a wooden design recently created by craftsman Will Branch. Sheriff Randy Seal named Haik an “honorary deputy.”

Other officials — or their representatives — who spoke about Haik or presented her with gifts included: Parish President Richard “Ned” Thomas, Parish Clerk of Court Johnny Crain Jr., Assessor Jimbo Stevenson, the Washington Parish School Board, the Washington Parish Council and the Franklinton Board of Aldermen.

At the end of the ceremony, a humbled Haik smiled and thanked the crowd for their support.

“I just want to thank everyone who made this day possible,” she said. “I want to make you proud throughout this amazing year.”