Could the next Miss America be from UNCSA?

by Mark Burger

In one of the more unexpected developments at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), two students — one a current student and the other a recent aluma — will be competing in the 2012 Miss America pageant.

Hailey Best , who received her high-school diploma from UNCSA in 2009, was crowned Miss North Carolina earlier this summer, and Michaela Lackey, a rising college senior enrolled in the UNCSA School of Dance, was crowned Miss Georgia. They’ll square off for the crown in Las Vegas in January at the annual Miss America Pageant, which will be broadcast by ABC.

Best is currently majoring in vocal performance at Meredith College and competed as Miss Durham, performed an opera selection in the Miss North Carolina talent competition. Lackey, who is studying classical ballet and competed as Miss Heart of Lakes, performed (surprise!) a ballet selection in the Miss Georgia talent competition.

The Miss America Pageant celebrated its 90 th birthday this year, originating in 1921 in Atlantic City, NJ, and has become an American institution. The pageant was held in Atlantic City until 2004, at which point the venue changed to Las Vegas. The current Miss America is Teresa Scanlan (Miss Nebraska) who was crowned in January. Contestants are judged in five categories: Personal Interview, Talent, Onstage Question, Evening Wear, and Lifestyle & Fitness in Swimsuit… which seems to be a lot of people’s favorite!

Another recent development at UNCSA was the announcement that the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) has bestowed a grant upon the School of Filmmaking’s Moving Image Archives.

The grant, which totals almost $6,500 will be used to preserve and restore the 16mm print of The Golden Mirror, a documentary about the history of the American Legion, which was produced by the Walter J. Klein Company, an advertising and promotions firm based in North Carolina, whose collection of promotional films was donated to the Archives.

According David Spencer, senior curator of the Moving Image Archives, as well as both an instructor and a graduate of the School of Filmmaking, this print of The Golden Mirror is the only one known to be in existence. Spencer himself spent three years poring through various film archives throughout the world to ensure that no other copy exists.

The NFPF, which was established in 1996, offers grants to preserve such cinematic rarities as vintage newsreels, silent films, documentaries, home movies of cultural significance (those wouldn’t include my home movies, for sure!) and independent productions. The NFPF receives federal money through the Library of Congress to distribute grants but raises all operating and project funding independently. It is only loosely connected to the better-known National Film Preservation Board (NFPB), which was also created by the Library of Congress in the late 1980s and which selects 25 films each year for preservation.

Particularly impressive is that this marked the first time that the Moving Image Archives had submitted a grant application to the NFPF, and Spencer said he hopes it’s only the first in a continuing association.