On Sunday evening, January 19, 2003, the eleventh annual Miss OC pageant was held in Huntsville's Von Braun Center Concert Hall. Seeking to "identify, development, and promote leadership among Christian college women," the pageant celebrates the "many shapes, sizes, colors, and textures of African-American beauty, achievement, and womanhood." Taking as its theme "The Beat of a Different Drum," the pageant revisited many aspects of African cultural heritage, including authentic African drum performances by guest artists Ivy Joe Plummer and Judah Milan. This year five young ladies contested for the crown and title of Miss Oakwood College 2003. Candice Johns, a pre-physical therapy major from California; Porsche Vanderhorst, an English, language arts education, and music vocal performance major from Washington, D.C.; Shalondra McKinney, a biochemistry major from Los Angeles, California; Sylvia Celina Lyew, an English major from New York City; and April Burks, an English major from Cincinnati, Ohio. Rajeeni Thomas, Miss OC 2002, and Tyisha Cephas, Miss OC 2001, were mistresses of ceremony. Following introduction of the contestants, talent presentations, evening gowns, the prerequisite questions, and the final walk of Miss OC 2002. The judges chose Porsche Vanderhorst as Miss OC 2003. Sylvia Lyew was second runner-up, and Shalondra McKinney was first runner-up. Following her crowning, Porsche Vanderhorst made her first walk as Miss OC 2003. Congratulations to OC's new campus queen and to all the contestants for a scintillating evening. Special thanks are due to Dean Dedrick Blue and the Student Services staff. Also to the Pageant Committee, chaired by Theresa Allen, and including Renee Heard, Charmaine Kerr, Tiaja Fletcher, Wellington Lewis, Ramona Hyman, Ivy Starks, Wilberta Smith, Gretchen Brown, Dr. Rennae Elliot, Mithra Williams, Aukea Joseph (Miss OC 2000), Jerry Martin, Josette Sonceau, Toyosi Atolagbe, Byron Phillips, Edwin Lightbourne, and Leroy Peters. The "Beat of a different Drum" was truly an evening to remember.
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