BY CAROL HICKS
Miss Virginia, Desiree Williams of Newport News, Va., won the title of Miss National Sweetheart at the Hoopeston National Sweetheart Pageant this year.
Williams is a 2011 graduate of Hampton University, Hampton, Va., majoring in health and physical education with a minor in leadership studies.
“I have always loved health and fitness,” Williams said, “and knew I wanted to pursue a career in which I could help people live more healthy and productive lives.”
Her platform during her pageant career was seeking to end childhood obesity. She has developed a plan to inform students about nutrition, to make healthy choices in their daily foods and encourage them to stay fit which she plans to implement during her teaching career.
Williams received musical training in both the piano and clarinet. The selection she chose in the preliminaries was a contemporary piano rendition of a “Pirates of the Caribbean Medley.”
Her favorite things to do are working out, especially yoga, learning and spending time with family and friends.
Williams said her favorite memory during the festival was the time spent with the Anderson family, her host family.
“I just really enjoyed the time spent with them,” she said and thanked them for opening their home to her.
Williams’ future plan is to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy.
Alissa Brumbaugh, Miss Ohio, was the first runner-up.
Also placing in the pageant were:
Others receiving awards were Rachael Turner, Miss Texas, who won the Pat Musk Talent Award for her preliminary performance of “Ah! Je Veux Vivre.”
The Bob Horan Memorial Award went to Diana Sweeney, Miss Nevada, and the John Bitner Memorial Award was presented to Carly Mathis, Miss Georgia. Rebecca Lebak, Miss North Dakota, received the Miss Congeniality Award.
The Hoopeston National Sweetheart Pageant is a training ground for a state’s first runner-up for a return to the state pageants. Many of the women who compete in Hoopeston return to compete in the Miss American state pageants.
Of those who returned and won their state pageants, nine young women went on to become Miss America on the national level. The last one, Caressa Cameron, became Miss America in 2010.