Miss USD prepares to compete for state title
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Miss USD prepares to compete for state title

For one University of South Dakota senior, persistence has paid off.

Stephanie Fischer, a communication sciences and disorders major, won the Miss USD competition held Feb. 8 in Aalf’s Auditorium after competing the past two years and getting first runner up. 

“It’s kind of just a thing where people you know push you to do it and there’s a lot of scholarship opportunities,” Fischer said.

The Miss USD pageant, which is a local version of the Miss America pageant, is also a way for contestants to display their talents.

Fischer said a lot of support is required for pageant women. One of the people who was by her side through the process of becoming Miss USD was Tessa Dee, a graduate student in the Department of Communication Studies and a former Miss South Dakota.

Dee said women must take a few steps in order to get to the Miss USD competition.

“To compete in a local pageant you fill out and send in the paperwork, apply and raise a minimum of $100 for the Children’s Miracle Network, the national partner of Miss America, (then) you go and compete,” Dee said.

Hannah Wollmann, a junior human resource management major and a friend of Fischer’s, said Fischer never gave up on her goal of becoming Miss USD.

“She did it again for the next two years before becoming Miss USD. She had a lot of perseverance. And she kept on trying,” Wollmann said. “It’s made her a stronger person and she’s had a lot of opportunities through it.”

Now that Fischer is Miss USD, she will have to take on multiple philanthropic responsibilities.

“Last week was National Library Week, so I’ve been going around to libraries and I read to the kids and took pictures,” Fischer said. “Just getting them excited about reading at home and on their own. I have my own platform I can do whatever I want with.”

Besides doing volunteer work, Fischer will also attend various events throughout the year.

“There are a couple different appearances I have to do, like next year I’ll have to come back for the D-Days parade,” Fischer said.

Fischer said the competition has given her an opportunity to help pay for school while allowing her to push her boundaries.

“I think I saw it as an opportunity to grow as an individual and challenge myself,” Fischer said. “Then, as I got deeper into it, I realized the scholarship section of it is a really good opportunity for me to give back to my parents.”

She is now gearing up for the Miss South Dakota pageant coming up in June to be held in Hot Springs, S.D.

Wollmann said Fischer does very well representing USD.

“She’s very poised and (is) a very bright person. She’s very professional in what she does,” Wollmann said. “She wouldn’t give a bad name to USD. I think she’ll do a great job in the Miss South Dakota pageant.”

(Photo: Senior Stephanie Fischer won the Miss USD pageant in February and will continue on to compete in the Miss South Dakota pageant in June. Miranda Letcher / The Volante)