The pandemic didn’t bring everything to a halt in 2020. The Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program continued its work in the community although it has not been the year envisioned by its current titleholders.

“When I imagined myself being a titleholder before the pandemic, I was blind to what it really meant,” said Young Miss Five Hills Elise Fuselier. “I thought it was pretty shoes, gowns and faces of makeup. Sometimes, that’s what it means to society, but it’s way more than that.

“Through a pandemic, we have dedicated countless hours of service to our beloved city. While others saw this pandemic as a time to step back and take a break, we chose to use this pandemic as much to our advantage as possible. We have made the most out of a year that most gave up on.”

After the live pageant was delayed for six weeks due to the pandemic, a virtual competition was held, and 17 titleholders began their reigns, but not without changes and challenges due to the pandemic, said Senior Ms. Five Hills Dawn Hale.

“With COVID and its restrictions, a lot of the regular events we planned to attend were canceled — often at the last minute — or modified to ensure social distancing,” Hale said. “But, we were vigilant in finding new ways to serve our community. We enjoyed many events this year that we probably would have missed if everything was normal. We learned how to continue our service projects a little differently this year.”

Hale dedicated her reign to the elderly who are the most vulnerable during the pandemic. Hale organized several home projects including a pen pal program, creating CD wind chimes for nursing home residents’ rooms and mats to bring peace of mind to those with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Copperas Cove Five Hills Junior Ambassador Hayley Sawyer reigned as Junior Miss Five Hills prior to the pandemic.

“It has changed a lot and sometimes this is a good thing because the pandemic has encouraged more outdoor events like trash pickups and painting over graffiti to beautify our city,” Sawyer said. “There were a lot of canceled parades and events, but I believe that this has motivated us to work five times harder on our platforms and really focus on what goals we wanted to accomplish this year.”

Preteen Miss Five Hills Romella Spitzer watched her brother, Noah, reign as Little Mister Five Hills last year.

“I don’t know how long this pandemic will go on, but I think it’s important as a team to do our best to overcome obstacles while still getting out in the community to help and show our support,” Spitzer said.

Miniature Mister Five Hills Maddox Tobias maintains the community’s 11 Free Little Libraries. The pandemic requires high levels of sanitation. Jillian Tobias, Maddox’s mother, said every aspect of this year’s reign is impacted.

“Maddox and his fellow Royalty have risen up to the additional challenges this year,” his mother said. “It is sad to know there are many events that weren’t possible during his reign, but we have made the absolute most out of what was possible and created countless memories.”

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