In a competition that awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships and prizes among its eight candidates, Jayson Toney claimed the crown of Miss UAFS 2021 during the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s scholarship competition on March 13.
Jayson Toney is the daughter of Charles Toney and Quade Basham, both of Fort Smith. A media communication major, her talent was a jazz dance performance, and her platform is You Are Enough. She will represent UAFS at the Miss Arkansas Competition this summer in Little Rock.
Toney also secured the artistic expression non-vocal award, earning an additional $250 scholarship.
“Miss UAFS is so important to me because I grew up watching this pageant. It was always a big event for my family to come to the Miss UAFS pageant every year, so when I was at the age to compete, I knew it was the right choice for me, and I am just so ecstatic that I get to represent UAFS.”
“I went to Northside right here in Fort Smith, and when I toured UAFS, I knew right away it was the place to me. It is so welcoming and inviting, and I hope that next year during my reign, I get to be a part of that and share that spirit.”
Other winners included:
- First runner-up: MacKenzie Copeland, 20, of Fort Smith.
- Second runner-up: Alexandria Thompson, 19, of Greenwood, who also earned the artistic expression, vocal award.
- Third runner-up: Chloe Ezell, 19, of Cabot.
- Academic Excellence: Caroline Mikel, 21, of North Little Rock.
- Sprit of Miss UAFS: Abby Cagle, 20, of Greenwood.
In a first for the Miss UAFS Competition, the crowd favorite award winner was chosen through an online fundraising campaign through the UAFS Foundation’s crowdfunding platform MobileCause. Chloe Ezell won the competition, earning a scholarship of $3080, contributed by 137 donors over the course of the event.
Judges determined the winner and runners-up of the Miss UAFS competition based on four areas of criteria: talent, private interview, eveningwear/social impact, and the candidate’s response to an on-stage question.
The event took place at the Breedlove Performing Arts Center at the UAFS campus. Though the event was closed to the in-person audience, it was streamed live through the Miss UAFS Facebook page.
The pageant awarded more than $11,000 in institutional scholarships in addition to private scholarships, cash awards, and prizes.
For winning Miss UAFS, Toney received a two-year scholarship to UAFS valuing $7,000, a cash scholarship valuing $1,600, and a necklace from The Jewelry Store worth an estimated $2,500. First runner up Copeland and second runner up Thompson both earned a 1-year scholarship to UAFS worth $2,000 and $550 and $450 cash scholarships, respectively.
Miss Arkansas 2019 Darynne Dahlem & Miss UAFS 2019 Allison Thompson served as Masters of Ceremonies.
Entertainment was provided by Dahlem, Thompson, and the Grayce Dewitt Dance Studio.
The competition chair and executive director is Stacey Jones of Fort Smith, associate vice chancellor of campus and community events at UAFS. Jones is also a producer for the Miss Arkansas Pageant.