Courtney Helom, of Jackson, was named Miss Hinds Community College 2016 in the annual pageant on Feb. 3. As Miss Hinds Community College, Helom will participate this summer in the Miss Mississippi pageant.
Helom, 20, is a Raymond Campus sophomore majoring in biology. She attended St. Joseph Catholic School and is a cheerleader and a member of Hinds Connection. Below are photos chronicaling her journey.
Helom receives help getting her hair, makeup and jewelry ready before taking the stage at the Miss Hinds Pageant 2016.
Why did you want to compete in the 2016 Miss Hinds pageant?
"This is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had here at Hinds. When I didn’t win last year (2015), I was really down on myself, and I decided to come back the next year because I was always taught that when you want something you have to work for it. I worked hard for the 2016 Miss Hinds pageant."
Helom competes in the evening gown portion of competition.
What was your first month as Miss Hinds been like? Different than you expected?
It was much more than I expected. From the photo shoots, to the interviews, to making appearances, it has been overwhelming, but it’s worth it. I am an ambassador of Hinds Community College, and hope I am making a difference in my community.
Helom performs an Emmett Till themed monologue in the talent portion of competition.
How did you select the monologue "The Untold Story of Emmett Till" for the talent portion of competition?
"It shows a mother grieving her son. The same thing that happened to them happened to someone in my family, so I can relate. I have a personal connection to the monologue. Some people may not know the story of Emmett Till, and I wanted people to get an insight into history. I wanted to do something different and nontraditional that would catch the judges' eye."
Helom performs an Emmett Till themed monologue in the talent portion of competition. She had an inventive use of props.
Tell us about your platform, "BeYOUtiful."
"My platform BeYOUtiful is about building girls' courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place. I want to teach them to have a positive relationship with their beauty, have a positive self-esteem and know their full potential in life, wherever they go."
Helom is crowned Miss Hinds by 2015 Miss Hinds, Maggie Schoultz, as Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse looks on.
Helom celebrates on stage with fellow contestant Abigail Walters.
Helom is interviewed after her big win by Timothy Crisler, Utica Media Technology Instructor.
Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse presents Helom with scholarship funds.
What are your goals for the future?
"Once I graduate with my Associate degree from Hinds, I want to then attend the University of Alabama and receive a Bachelor of Science degree. After that, I hope to get accepted into dental school to become an orthodontist."
Do you encourage girls to follow their dreams?
"Whatever you are called to do, I highly recommend you pursue it. Live to pursue your dreams -- in the medical field, education, whatever it may be -- pursue your dreams."
Helom is a Hinds Cheerleaders. Here she is pictured with members of Hinds cheer and the Hinds football team.
How have your experiences at Hinds shaped you?
"Coming to Hinds was the best decision I could have made. I thought I was ready for a four-year institution but looking back now, I wasn't ready. Hinds has prepared me to continue at a university and excel in my subjects. Being a Hinds Connection member, being a Hinds cheerleader--these experiences have molded me into the person I am today. I’m not the shy young lady I was entering Hinds. Now I am more confident in myself and in my ability to represent my college."
Helom with fellow cheerleaders
How are you preparing to compete in the Miss Mississippi 2016 pageant?
"Non-stop workouts, pageant meetings, interviews, keeping up to date current events, trying to find dresses, shoes and get information in on time have kept me busy. First, the goal is to not go home, that is the ultimate goal for not just me, but every contestant in the pageant. I am excited to make friends, network and give back."
The 2016 Miss Mississippi Pageant will be held at the Vicksburg Convention Center from June 22- 25. There will be an autograph party on June 20.