‘When January comes, I will be ready’

Published 11:03 pm Monday, July 4, 2011

She’s got the Miss Mississippi 2011 crown and now Mary Margaret Roark has her eye on the next prize — the Miss America title.

“I am prepared to be Miss Mississippi, and I have all the faith in the world that this board will prepare me to go to Miss America,” said Roark, 20, crowned Saturday night at the Vicksburg Convention Center. “And, when January comes, I will be ready.”

The Cleveland resident and Mississippi State University Shackhouls Honors College communications student said, when she woke Sunday morning, she thought she might have been dreaming.

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“I had this feeling of, ‘Is this a dream? Did it really happen?’ and the first thing my eyes went to was the crown and the sash and the answer was, ‘Yes.’ It’s still surreal.”

Roark, who competed this year as Miss North Central Mississippi and last year as Miss Meridian, making the top 10, said she changed a couple of things for the 2011 pageant.

“I changed my platform due to my grandmother’s recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and I changed from singing to playing the piano — so we had quite the revamp,” she laughed.

Her platform is J.E.W.E.L.S. for Alzheimer’s — Joining the cause to Educate the public and Work for a cure while Encouraging those Living with the disease and Supporting those who care for them.

Roark played “Nostradamus,” by Croatian composer Maksim Mrvica, for the talent portion of the Miss Mississippi Pageant, and she plans to do the same at Miss America — “as long as the Miss Mississippi organization is happy. I love the piece.”

Roark, the daughter of Fred and Dr. Mary Jo Roark, traveled to Las Vegas for Miss America 2011, to support Miss Mississippi 2010 Sarah Beth James. She feels that will help her prepare for the 2012 pageant, set for Jan. 14.

Roark hopes the coming year results in “an improved version of herself.”

“I have already felt immense support from everybody since winning the crown, all the encouraging remarks, all the congratulations,” she said “It really doesn’t get old.”