Miss South Carolina Pageant is next for winner of Miss Lander University crown
Monday, Jun 13, 2016

Katlyn GordonLander University student Katlyn Gordon says she has a reputation of not being a “girlie girl,” but she’s pretty much shed that distinction given activities she’s been engaged in this year.

First, she joined Lander’s “Sassy Cats” Dance Team, whose members promote university spirit and entertain at basketball games and other events. Then, in November she entered the annual Miss Lander University pageant. She said she wanted to use the event to demonstrate her talent as a singer and to help overcome her stage fright. She didn't expect to win, but she did win the crown, as well as the People’s Choice and Talent awards

Capturing the Miss Lander title qualified her to move on to a much bigger arena as one of more than 50 contestants in the Miss South Carolina Pageant, taking place June 21-25 in Columbia.

Gordon, who is from Clover, is a junior majoring in music with a vocal emphasis. She said she entered the Miss Lander pageant at the urging of Dr. Lila Noonkester, chair of the music department. Noonkester describes her as having an upbeat spirit that brightens a room. She added, “Katlyn is a caring person who reaches out to fellow students if they are sick or experiencing life’s difficulties.”

She is a member of the Lander University and Old Main Singers; the Jazz Ensemble; and Opera Workshop in addition to the Dance Team. She is also a counselor at Camp Joy, in North Carolina, a week-long summer program for children and others with special needs.

Gordon said her parents and two brothers were surprised when she joined the Dance Team and shocked when she entered the Miss Lander contest, because they knew her as someone who typically avoids those sorts of activities. She said the Lander pageant was exciting and fun because she got to know the other contestants on a personal basis.

She has the same expectations for the Miss S.C. pageant, meeting new people and taking part in what she said is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity.

Her entry into the pageant has become almost a community project, as she has won the support of family, friends and others in her hometown, at Lander and in Greenwood and McCormick counties. For example, she has a part-time job at JaBo Kennels in Troy, and she said owners Jan and Bob Drinkard have sought support for her from friends and associates, including Billy Norris, who allowed her to use his Norris Auction Co., in McCormick, for events to help defray expenses associated with the pageant. She has also received backing from members of the congregation of her church, Troy Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, in Troy.

Now, she is actively campaigning for votes for the pageant’s People’s Choice Award. The contestant who receives the most votes will automatically advance to the finals. Votes can be cast online for $1 each at www.miss-sc.org/peoples-choice-award-catalog/miss. Balloting will continue until 11 p.m., Thursday, June 23, with proceeds benefiting the pageant itself.