Determination, hard work and never giving up paid off for Miss Jackson Jennifer Davis at the Miss Missouri Pageant.
Davis, 23, was crowned Miss Missouri 2017 Saturday night after a four-day competition.
Jackson who was in her fifth year of competition said it was worth the wait. She began competing at the age of 19 and last year was first runner-up at the Miss Missouri Pageant.
"It was all worth it. I feel so blessed and humble and I never gave up on my dream," she said
Family matters to the new titleholder and the emotional Davis immediately asked for her mother. Family and friends were present to share the joyous moment with her.
Davis' platform is "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" - Diversity Matters". She feels just because someone is different, doesn't mean he/she isn't special. She has written a book titled "Diversity Matters." It is about a little girl named Diversity who is sad because no one in her class looks like her. One classmate explains to her that it is everyone's differences that make them special and make them matter. This is what Davis wants to convey to young people in her platform that everyone matters, no matter what color, or sexual belief, or disabilities.
For her talent Davis performed a Bollywood dance to "Naacho Re." She began Bollywood dancing for exercise. "I began it simply for the exercise and fell in love with the culture," she said.
Davis who is attending college in Colorado to become a physician assistant and to work in pediatric oncology, will take a year off from college. "I am packed and ready to move back home," she said. "I plan to be the best Miss Missouri I can be."
Davis is the daughter of Steven and Nicole Davis of St. Charles.
As Miss Missouri 2017 she received a $13,000 scholarship, her official crown, plus many more gifts.
First runner-up was Miss Fleur de Lis Katie Moeller, who received a $5,500 scholarship. Second runner-up was River City Shelby Steinberger, who received a $4,500 scholarship; third runner-up was Miss Metro St. Louis Riley Bradley who received a $3,500 scholarship; and fourth runner-up was Miss Kansas City Ashley Thakur, who received a $2,500 scholarship.
Finishing out the top 11 finalists were: Miss Route 66 Jennifer Mueller; Miss City of Fountains Mikaela Carson; Miss Kirksville Cheyenne Parks; Miss Heartland Brittney Sears; Miss Heartland of the Ozarks Katelyn Lewis; and Miss Northwest Marissa Jarnagin.
Other awards presented Saturday night included: Jenna Terry Combs Miracle Maker Award for $750 went to Miss City of Fountains Mikaela Carson who raised $6,000 (overall the contestants raised $26,187.64); Newcomer Award in honor of Abby Scott - given by her parents for $300 went to Miss Northwest Marissa Jarnagin; the Smile Award given by the family of Sarah French for $250 was presented to Miss Zona Rosa Carolyn Koepping; Miss America Scholarships went to Miss St. Joseph Abbie Hebron for the $1,000 Academic award; and Miss Route 66 Jennifer Mueller, $1,000 Community Service award; the Commerce Bank Community service award for $500 was presented to Miss City of Fountains Mikaela Carson.