Miss Tennessee Valley Hayley Lewis became the second Scenic City contestant in three years to capture the Miss Tennessee title on Saturday winning on a night where Chattanooga area contestants dominated the final rounds of competition.
UT-Chattanooga senior Lexi White of Harrison representing Historic Jonesborough was Third Runner-Up and Miss Chattanooga Jaclyn Torrento was Fourth Runner-Up. Lee University student and Miss Music City Maria Shepherd of Cleveland was a top 10 finalist, Miss Metropolitan Darby Schumacher of Chattanooga finished in the top 12 while Miss Capital City and recent UT-Chattanooga graduate Dacey Winkleman of Lynchburg was a top 16 finalist.
Miss Lewis, a 21-year-old senior Music Business major at Belmont University, dropped to her knees when pageant emcee Allison DeMarcus announced to the capacity crowd at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson that she had won a $13,000 scholarship and the opportunity to compete at the Miss America Pageant in September. She won Thursday’s talent preliminary with her rendition of “I Who Have Nothing”. Miss Greater Greeneville Sarah Stokely of Newport was first runner-up for the second consecutive year.
Miss White who is a graduate of The Baylor School and the granddaughter of Miss Tennessee 1957 the late Amanda Whitman Henry, won a $4,000 scholarship.
Miss Torrento, who won the Miss Tennessee State Quality of Life Award for Community Service on Friday, performed “To Make You Feel My Love” and won a $3,000 scholarship. She will be graduating from Belmont in August with her degree in Entertainment Industry Studies.
Miss Lewis’ platform is the Children’s Miracle Network which is also the national philanthropy of the Miss America Organization. She and her Phi-Mu sorority sisters have raised over $160,000 for CMN by organizing dance marathons and fashion shows. She was the first runner-up to Miss Torrento for the state Quality of Life award.
The win was the fifth in 12 years for the Scenic City franchise as Miss Lewis joins previous state winners Jamie Watkins Davenport (2003), Blaire Pancake (2007), Ellen Carrington (2008) and Chandler Lawson (2012). Miss Tennessee 2009 Stefanie Wittler represented the Miss Hamilton County Pageant when she won her title.