Pageant Royalty Graces the Halls of Herbert

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Leah Kennedy, a sophomore in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, has made attending college possible through pageant scholarships. Currently, she reigns as Miss Tennessee Iris Festival Volunteer.

Kennedy’s pageant career began at the Williamson County Fair during her senior year of high school. She said that like many other people, she saw a stigma around pageants. But after participating in her first one, Kennedy discovered that “pageants are very empowering.”

She further explained, “pageants are not about how you look but about how healthy you are.” They are meant to empower women and help them grow, which is one of her favorite aspects of the competitions.

While participating in pageants can be very rewarding, Kennedy faced her biggest challenge the first time she ran for a Tennessee Volunteer pageant and did not win a title. Still, she fell in love with the process, and decided to compete the next year, ultimately winning the Miss Tennessee Iris Festival pageant.

Kennedy is “very passionate about putting in 110 percent” into everything she does, which is what pushed her to continue to compete.

She advises those hoping to receive scholarships by participating in pageants to “apply for everything,” and to not be afraid to reach out to people for help. It is because of her efforts and the support of family and friends that she has been able to use these scholarships to make the most of her education at the Herbert College of Agriculture.

When Kennedy is not on the road traveling as Miss Tennessee Iris Festival Volunteer, she’s staying busy with classes, Block and Bridle Club, FFA events, and her Delta-Gamma sorority engagements. She hopes to use her platform and experiences to advocate for agriculture in the classroom.

With another pageant coming up this July in Jackson, Tennessee, the Herbert College of Agriculture wishes her the best of luck!