Queen crowned: Ben’s Ford senior wins 2017 pageant

Published 4:38 am Friday, October 20, 2017

Kayla McGee, a senior at Ben’s Ford Christian School, was crowned as the 2017 Washington Parish Fair Queen on Tuesday night at the fairgrounds’ main stage.

McGee was declared the winner out of a field of 13 young ladies vying for the crown. She follows outgoing queen Lexie Hebert, who was also a Ben’s Ford senior when she was crowned in 2016.

McGee is the daughter of Stacey Graham and Bobby McGee Jr. She is a member of Ben’s Ford Baptist Church, and dozens of her friends from school and church attended Tuesday’s pageant to cheer her on — many even wearing matching “Team Kayla” shirts.

“I was completely shocked to win, but I’m very grateful,” McGee said. “Seeing everybody here tonight to support me is amazing.”

McGee has been a part of the Ben’s Ford cheerleading team for five years and maintains a 4.0 grade-point average. She is a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society and National Society of High School Scholars.

When McGee graduates in the spring, she will have 27 hours of dual enrollment college credit-hours through Southeastern Louisiana University. Upon graduation, she wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in linguistics and a double minor in music and education, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She wants to teach high school English and eventually become an editor for a publishing company.

McGee said that she was especially thankful for the support of her mother, Graham.

“She was always encouraging and supported me in everything,” McGee said.

Graham was proud of her daughter’s achievement.

“It was great for her to see that all of her hard work paid off,” she said. “We have a great support team from school and church. There are so many family and friends that mean the world to her, and love her, and it’s wonderful to see her win.”

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, the contestants participated in the interview portion of the pageant at Franklinton Town Hall. Judges asked the contestants questions about their own interests, current events and the history of the fair. On Tuesday night, the contestants each performed a short walk across the stage in their formal dresses, and then answered one more question taken from a random list.

Bogalusa attorney Bill Arata served as the master of ceremonies for the second straight year.

McGee smiled when asked if there was anything special about Ben’s Ford producing fair queens.

“I guess we just stick out,” she said, with a laugh.

Hanna Jones was the first runner-up, Madelyne Sumrall was the second runner-up and Alyssa Vargas was the third-runner up. There were also four special awards given out during Tuesday’s pageant — Sumrall won the Interview Award, Vargas won Most Photogenic, Selena Spears won the Fashion Award, and Deja Long was the Miss Congeniality winner.

Also competing in Tuesday’s pageant were Destiny Ballard, Tionne Brown, Emma Bowman, Madison Kimbrell, Destiny McKenzie, Destiny Richardson and Shelby Ward.