news-category: Campus News

Miss Gardner-Webb Pageant on March 24 to Feature Nine Contestants

Last year's contestants and winners pose after the pageant.

While Celebrating Women’s History Month, Participants will Showcase Their Talents

By Isabella Brown, ’24, Intern for University Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Miss Gardner-Webb Pageant will be held on Sunday, March 24, at 3 p.m. in Dover Theatre. Nine contestants have practiced enthusiastically for an opportunity to shine bright and show what makes them unique. From beautiful dresses to bold talents, these contestants plan to give the judges their best.

Participants are:

  • Nina Bollinger, of Lincolnton, N.C., sophomore biology major, psychology minor.
  • Nadia Norman, of Virginia Beach, Va., senior biology major, biomedical sciences (pre-med).
  • Maddalena Giovine, of Elk Grove Village, Ill., senior American Sign Language major.
  • Anna Sample, of Fremont, Calif., senior psychology major, theater arts minor.
  • 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.
  • Isabela Castillo, of Canton, Ga., junior elementary education major.
  • Vivien Ray, of Kings Mountain, N.C., junior religious studies, discipleship major.
  • Mayson Taylor, of Gaffney, S.C., mathematics major, healthcare management minor.

Judges include 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.

The Miss Gardner-Webb Pageant celebrates and “teaches us about womanhood,” described Sample. As part of the pageant, and in honor of Women’s History Month, contestants get the chance to share about the women who have inspired them to dream big. They can choose an empowering woman from history, or a woman in their own lives who has made a lasting impact on them.

When Johnson reflects on Women’s History Month, her mother comes to mind. “My mother has inspired me. She is always so kind,” expressed Johnson with a smile. Miss Gardner-Webb is her very first pageant and she is excited to share her talent with the judges. “I am going to be speed painting,” said Johnson. “I’ve been practicing painting, but I am still deciding on the style.”

Along with Johnson, the other contestants are looking forward to performing their talents. It requires poise to walk across a stage in heels, but it certainly takes talent to dance only on your tiptoes, which is exactly what Ray hopes to do. “I plan to do ballet en pointe,” Ray shared. “I have been doing ballet since I was two. It is a beautiful art.”

As part of the pageant, all contestants learn the choreography to an opening dance routine. Once the pageant day arrives, they are well prepared for this number and each part of the competition. Dancing to Shania Twain’s song, “Man! I Feel Like A Woman,” these ladies hope to share the beauty of womanhood in this year’s Miss Gardner-Webb Pageant.

The following assisted the Office of Student Engagement with the Miss GWU Pageant:

  • Reagan Knapp — Choreographer.
  • Bree Silvers — Host.
  • Samantha Holt — Photographer.
  • Grace Fort — Workshop.
  • Alyssa Wilkie — Workshop.
  • Grace Fort — 1st Runner-Up Miss GWU 2023.
  • Shelton Binion — Lights & Audio.
  • Alyssa Wilkie — Backstage Assistant.
  • Toni Policastro — Backstage Assistant.
  • Scorekeeper — Dr. Felice Policastro Professor of International Business & Finance
  • Gardner-Webb ASL Club — Greeters.
  • GWU Theatre Department.
  • Office of Student Engagement.

Writer Isabella Brown is a senior English major.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

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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