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 Issue date - April 25, 2003
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ORU grad takes Miss Oklahoma title; vies for
Miss America

By Sarah Dash

One of ORU's own students, Miss Oklahoma 2002 Casey Preslar, headed for Atlantic City, Sept. 6 with the goal of winning the annual Miss America Pageant, which will be broadcast Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. on NBC.

"I want to win the crown…I want to do the job," Preslar said. As Miss America, Preslar would "create an awareness that music is very important for young children. I could see where I would easily tap into that avenue of opportunity and really make a difference."

This summer, in addition to preparing for Atlantic City, Preslar traveled in New York as a part of VH1's Save the Music Foundation and will be a spokesperson for the Foundation at the Miss America Pageant.

Preslar chose to represent the Foundation because "music is just a part of me. I've been involved in music all my life." This summer Preslar sang the national anthem at a TU/OU game. Preslar has been employed as a commercial jingle vocalist and actress. Also, she has produced a "Building Your Baby's Brain" CD and a classical music CD. Involved in music at an early age, Preslar and her two sisters have sung on the Lawrence Welk show as a trio.

"I've discovered that music helps prepare a child to learn. You learn skills very important to a foundation of self-learning," Preslar said.

Since the other 49 contestants at the Miss America Pageant have a great impact on who the winner is, Preslar's tactic to win them over is to be a real person, which she believes is what today's society is looking for.

Casey described her job of being Miss Oklahoma as an "incredible opportunity." She will speak at 350 schools to 50,000 children.

"I get to speak about goal awareness, goal setting and really about becoming a whole person and what it takes to be a success in life and society," Preslar said. The job of Miss Oklahoma is "taking one step at a time, making a difference in [the children's] lives and really showing them that they can be everything they want to be if they never give up on their dreams."

The scholarship money the pageant offered, as well as the opportunity to make a difference in children's lives, originally persuaded Preslar to enter the competition. She has won $91,000 in scholarship from the pageants. "The first year I competed, I won a four-year college scholarship," Preslar said. She used this scholarship to attend ORU.

ORU has assisted her in developing the comfortable, professional and entertaining personality that she has on stage. Preslar has been very involved in the ORU music ministries department. For two years she sang for Richard and Lindsay Roberts' live TV show "Something Good Tonight: The Hour of Healing," which is broadcast on over 200 stations nationwide. Preslar said ORU helped her fine-tune her talent, so when she is in situations like those in pageants, she is composed.

"I know that I can answer anything because I know that I have the presence of God inside of me. And every time they would ask me a question on stage, the first thing that came to my mind is 'I have the mind of Christ,'" Preslar said.

Preslar competed for five years before she won Miss Oklahoma. She was not expecting to win. "It was more of a shocker for me. I actually, finally won! I was very, very excited," she said. With her experience of competing for five years, Preslar said, "I've been doing this for so long, that you could say I'm a natural on the Atlantic City stage."

The job of Miss Oklahoma has been busier than Preslar had expected. "You never fully understand what something is until you actually live through it....There's never really any down time," she said. She has been very busy preparing for Atlantic City. "I am ready to represent Oklahoma," Preslar said.

In looking ahead to the Miss America Pageant, she said, "I look at it as I've got the job that I want. If I get a promotion in September, it's just icing on the cake."

As Preslar is at the Miss America Pageant, she remembers, "ORU instilled that confidence inside of me that I know God is in control. And I'm not the author of my book. God is the author of my book. As I realize that, I can fully just trust Him and know that He has the best plan for my life."

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