Thursday, May 9, 2013
Miss Mississippi visits Byhalia
By SUE WATSON
The message of Miss Mississippi, guest speaker for the Byhalia Lions Club’s Ladies Night, met the approval of her audience.
Marie Wicks and her mother Carolyn Wicks of Ocean Springs presented a capsulized view of her life. One of her platforms as Miss Mississippi and when running for Miss America has been to do all she can to help those with impaired vision.
Wicks has published a children’s book “Myope,” about a near-sighted lion. She was diagnosed with near-sightedness in elementary school and can relate to kids who cannot read the blackboard.
Also, special child Destiny Oakes, now of Olive Branch, who has been adopted by the Byhalia Lions Club for special attention and love, was present with her mother at Ladies Night. Destiny reads Braille and uses a computer and attends a special school in Olive Branch. She attended the Mississippi School for the Blind for three years. She first attended the school for the blind at age 5. Destiny is now 11.
Wicks visited with Destiny prior to the dinner. As Miss Mississippi, she enjoys traveling to represent the state. Her crown will be relinquished in July.
Wicks called her life as a beauty queen and ambassador for the state, “a lifetime experience.”
“I’m so blessed to meet people in all corners of the state,” she said. Her talent for the contest was a piano solo.
In introducing Wicks to the Lions Club, Bob Carrington also recognized Doris Moore for her 67 years of service to the Ladies of the Circle.
Wicks talked about her walk as a representative of the state – how she got there and what she is learning.
Practicing positive habits that become incorporated into one’s life is all a part of developing excellence, the Ole Miss grad said.
The four points of the crown are used to teach others some important life lessons.
Service to others is represented by one of the points. Wicks said it provides her a sense of happiness and success.
“Giving is a two-way street,” she said. “You give, then you receive.”
It was Hellen Keller who, in 1925, challenged the Lions to “become knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.”
As a representative for Mississippi, Wicks spoke of how the contest for Miss America raises about $45 million for scholarships. Miss America’s national platform is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Each of the state candidates has their own platform as well. Wicks chose “Eyesight for all Regions” or eyeSTAR as her platform. All proceeds from her book go to the Children’s Miracle Network.
As a fourth grade student, Wicks said she found how transformative eyeglasses are for sight. The World Health Organization estimates 153 million people suffer from uncorrected refractive indices and need glasses.
EyeSTAR is to raise awareness of the need for vision.
Another healthy habit is to believe in oneself.
“Start paying compliments to yourself. Be content with your God-given talents and reach out to others to say positive things about themselves,” she said. “Not believing in yourself is like wearing the wrong prescription eyeglasses.”
Wicks participated in the Junior Miss Pageant and ran five times for the Miss Mississippi pageant. It was through these activities that she became a relaxed public speaker and built her confidence.
A third healthy habit is to foster an attitude of gratitude.
Being thankful for health, for one’s abilities, and for others is always helpful, she said.
So many people give so much but are not recognized for it, Wicks said.
“Being content with who you are and giving God the glory is so much a part of my life,” she said.
Wicks did not win the Miss America contest, but one positive is that she now has a friend in each state of the union, she said.
“Walk with faith and know God has a plan for your life.” she said. “Put God first in your life.”
Quoting Condoleezza Rice, Wicks said in America what matters is where you are going.
“It’s up to us to maintain these habits in life and to always wear the right eyeglasses,” she said.
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