JirNecia Ward crowned 2021 Lady of the Bracelet

Lora Luquet 

Arts and Living Editor 

JirNecia Ward, a senior computer information systems major, was crowned winner of the 2021 Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet Scholarship Program on Friday, Jan. 15. 

NSU held its long-standing Lady of the Bracelet Pageant to a live audience over Cisco Webex. 

“I will say that the best feeling for me was actually walking onstage, our very last walk when all of the candidates came onstage,” Ward said. “I was just excited to have been a part of it and to have made it through the entire thing, to be onstage with all the friends I’ve made along the way.” 

The pageant, held by NSU’s University Programming Council, has been a tradition at NSU for over 60 years. The first place contestant of the Lady of the Bracelet pageant receives the title of Lady of the Bracelet, goes on to compete in Miss Louisiana and receives a full scholarship. 

Madeleine Hensley, Miss Lady of the Bracelet 2020, was relieved of her duties as she crowned Ward. Hensley now takes Miss Pride of NSU as her title to compete in the Miss Louisiana pageant. 

This year, coordinators of the pageant took COVID-19 restrictions into account while conducting the rehearsals and performance to ensure the safety of the contestants and audience. 

Yanna Pasch, director of student activities and organizations and University Programming Council advisor, directed the program. Pasch acted as a liaison between the Miss Louisiana Organization and the University Programming Council. 

“We actually not only had COVID restrictions and preparation for COVID protocols but we also had a three day delay due to the snowstorm that came through,” Pasch said. “It truly was an interesting year based on those issues.” 

Unless on stage by themselves, the candidates and workers of the pageant wore masks. In-person rehearsals were closed to only essential members. Other rehearsals were held over WebEx. The choreographer taught the candidates the opening number in the comfort of their own homes. 

The current Miss Louisiana, Courtney Hammons, acted as emcee of this year’s Lady of the Bracelet pageant, as well as performed a number for the audience. 

“Courtney is wonderful. She was such a professional, so sweet and kind, and ready to sort of hop into any of those COVID protocols,” Pasch said. “She was aware of the process and the policies we have set forward. She was super easy to work with when it came to the show.” 

Sheridan Duet, a senior hospitality management and tourism and communications double major, watched the pageant through WebEx, and has attended the Lady of the Bracelet pageant for the last two years. 

“I actually know both of them, Madeleine and JirNecia, and I think they are gonna both be great representatives for Northwestern and do a great job at Miss Louisiana at representing our university,” Duet said. 

Both Hensley and Ward will be competing in the Miss Louisiana pageant this coming June. 

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