news-category: Campus News

Junior Izzy Castillo Crowned Miss Gardner-Webb

The pageant winner poses after being named Miss GWU
Izzy Castillo was crowned Miss Gardner-Webb on March 24.

Participants Showcased Their Talents and Celebrated Women’s History Month

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Izzy Castillo was crowned Miss Gardner-Webb on March 24. She also won Most Photogenic and Miss Congeniality. Castillo, of Canton, Ga., is a junior elementary education major. Her talent was a country line dance to Footloose. She received a crown, sash, roses and $300.

To described how she feels about winning the pageant, Castillo shared a scripture — Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Castillo explained, “I chose this verse, because I feel personally that win or lose it did not matter to me. I went to have fun and represent the Lord and share all the love for people I have. It was a phenomenal experience, and I made so many new and beautiful friendships from it. We all worked so hard and learned and grew from one another. I am very thankful for this opportunity.”   

From left, are, First Runner-up Anna Sample, Miss GWU Izzy Castillo,
and Second Runner-up Nadia Norman.

First runner-up was Anna Sample, of Fremont, Calif., a senior psychology major, theater arts minor, who received a sash, roses and $200, The second runner-up was Nadia Norman, of Virginia Beach, Va., senior biology major, biomedical sciences (pre-med). She received a sash, roses and $100. Vivien Ray, of Kings Mountain, N.C., won the award for Most Talented. She is a junior majoring in religious studies, discipleship.  

Jessika Raduly, associate director of Student Engagement, praised the contestants and all those who helped coordinate the pageant. The pageant staff noted that the girls worked tirelessly from the end of January right up until the start of the opening number on March 24. “From dance practices, workshops, personal practices in their dorm rooms, and dress rehearsals they have put in countless hours of preparation,” Raduly affirmed. “We could not have asked for a better group of ladies to participate this year. They were all so supportive of each other, which made this whole process so fun and empowering. This pageant ran smoothly from start to finish thanks to all the help we had on and off the stage. We cannot wait to see what next year has in store.”

Other participants were:

  • Nina Bollinger, of Lincolnton, N.C., sophomore biology major, psychology minor.
  • Maddalena Giovine, of Elk Grove Village, Ill., senior American Sign Language major.
  • Montana Adams, of Robbinsville, N.C., freshman exercise science (pre-professional) major, business minor.
  • Kylie Johnson, of Waco, N.C., junior biomedical sciences major, psychology minor.
  • Mayson Taylor, of Gaffney, S.C., mathematics major, healthcare management minor.

Judges included Thea Thompson, associate vice president for web and digital communications; Aubree Bell, academic advisor and success coach; Stephanie Allen, director of Counseling Services; Dr. Heather Wright, assistant professor of English education and Megan Peek, university counselor.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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