Grace MunroMiss All America City
Hometown: Ocean Springs, MS
Platform: Volunteerism: Things Get Solved When You Get Involved
Talent: Lyrical Dance
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? I am a junior at the University of Mississippi.
What is your major? My major is Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Psychology.
What is your scholastic ambition? My scholastic ambition is to obtain a doctorate in occupational therapy and become a Pediatric Occupational Therapist.
List scholastic honors: Chancellor’s Honor Roll; Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Member; Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, Member; Alpha Epsilon Delta Medical Honor Society, Member; Provost Scholar; Lambda Sigma Honor Society, Member; Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Member; Elk’s Most Valuable Student Scholarship Recipient; U of M Catherine Ann Seely Scholarship Recipient; Ole Miss Academic Achievement Scholarship Recipient; National Math and Science Initiative Award; President of the National Technical Honor Society; State of Mississippi page to Lieutenant Governor
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: My greatest non-academic accomplishment occured when I stepped out in faith to be baptized. As I boldly relayed my story to the church congregation, I was hopeful that my words would reach and move someone in their faith as well. The next day, a young woman stepped forward and said she too wanted to become baptized after hearing my story. I was so humbled my journey inspired such a change in someone else’s life.
What is your favorite style of music? Because I am a dancer, I have been exposed to many different genres of music, and I truly enjoy them all. If I had to choose a style, it would be broadway show tunes.
What is your favorite movie genre and why? My favorite movie genre is definitely comedy. I enjoy winding down with a funny show or movie because laughter is truly the best medicine.
What is your favorite gadget? My favorite gadget is my Apple watch. It’s my little personal trainer because it helps me track my fitness goals everyday.
What is your favorite blog? My favorite blog is joyfullystyled.com/real-vs-steal/. It shows you a pair of designer shoes or a designer blouse and then gives you the more affordable option which is comparable to the “Real Deal.” It puts into perspective that I do not have to buy an extremely expensive outfit to be stylish.
What is your favorite place to visit? I would have to say my favorite place to visit is Strong River Camp and Farm in Pinola, MS. It brings me back to my childhood of being there every summer for eleven years, and it demonstrates a side of me people do not usually get to see. I love mud fighting with my campers, canoeing on the river, and camping under the stars.
What is your favorite food? 100%, raw chocolate chip cookie dough. Don’t even bake the cookies- just hand me a scoop of it please!
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? I could read the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers over and over again. It is a fictional twist on the story of Gomer and Hosea from the Bible. The book is deep, compelling, and a love story between two people, but it capitalizes on God’s love for us.
Do you twitter? Not regularly! I’m more of an Instagram and Facebook kind of girl.
What is your favorite?
Sport: Football Sports Team: Ole Miss Rebels (Hotty Toddy!)
Actor: Matt Damon Actress: Jennifer Lawrence
Television Program: Criminal Minds and Chrisley Knows Best
Wardrobe Accessory: My favorite wardrobe accessory is a headband. Whether I am in the gym or just walking around campus, I am usually always wearing one.
Thing to do on a weekend: On the weekends, I enjoy eating at Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford, going to Ole Miss football games when in season and always greeting people at Pinelake Church.
Way to spend a day off: “Game nights” or “movie days” with the girls are a must on a day off!
Please keep the answers to the following question to two sentences or less:
What is your hometown like? My hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi is a quaint, beautiful place filled with beaches, artists and the best donut place in the world, Tato-Nut Donuts. There is something to do almost every weekend, and it has the most genuine and kind-hearted people who live there.
What were you like when you were a child? I was a very talkative, stubborn, and imaginative child. My mother’s favorite words to describe me to this day are “Grace, you march to the beat of your own drum.”
Who is the most influential person in your life? When I left for college, I drove five and a half hours to Oxford, MS without my family and into an unknown future. I was blessed to have met Alison Schmelzer shortly after arriving. Even though she is a busy pastor’s wife and the mother of four young children, Alison still invites me over to decorate her family Christmas tree when I’m feeling homesick, sends me encouraging texts when a hard test is approaching, and demonstrates everyday what it is like to live as a woman of God. She gives a warm embrace on a rough day, wise words on a difficult day, and an open heart everyday. She will never understand the influence she has made on my life while helping me navigate the ever strenuous, but growing years of college.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize?
I have two car seats in my car! People are always quite confused when they try to climb in my backseat. I am the nanny of two of the cutest little girls, Ann Frances (age 4) and Margaret (age 2). We sing tracks from “The Sound of Music” on our way to school everyday, cuddle and watch Llama Llama, and do gymnastics tricks in the playroom. They teach me life lessons such as patience, time management, and the importance of naps! They are truly the highlight of my week, and I love spending time with them.
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title:
From the time I was three until I was five and a half, I would walk past a wishing well, beg my mother for a penny, wish and wish and wish for a little sister, and throw it in with all my might. My life was most definitely changed when my sister was born. I went from the “center-of-attention” to “big sister,” but I would not have it any other way. Lilly provides a source of comedic relief in everyday life, loyalty beyond compare, and a love like no other. A part of my identity would be lost without her.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program?
The most important thing I have learned from being in the Miss America Program is the element of teamwork. Although the title is “Miss Mississippi,” she is so much more than one being. She embodies the countless local directors and preparation team that helped her along the way, the donors and businesses who supported her, the volunteers who went above and beyond for her, and the family and friends who sacrificed so much for her dreams. The program has taught me that it takes a team in order to accomplish anything.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service?
During my year of service as Miss Mississippi, this is exactly what I would want to do- serve. I want to inspire others to give back to their community. I want people to not be afraid to go out on a limb and extend a hand to others. I remember being so scared to drop off meals when I was volunteering with the Lord is my Help as a 5th grader, but I received such warm smiles and a hunger to continue to help others in return. In the end, what sets Mississippi apart from any other state is our people. I would want to visit with as many people as I could, serve in whatever capacity possible, and truly give back to the people of the great state of Mississippi.
What is your secret wish or dream? I would absolutely LOVE to be on Family Feud! I would choose to have my mother, sister, Mi Mi, and Aunt Lori to be on the show with me. We would have the most outrageous answers. Who knows if we would win, but we would have a blast trying!
I’m motivated by: I am truly motivated by the aspect of potential growth. I never want to be complacent whether it be in fitness goals, school, my job as a nanny, my relationship with God, or my relationships with others. There is always room for improvement which motivates me to get up each day and strive for my personal goals.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform?
My platform is “Volunteerism: Things Get Solved When You Get Involved,” and it was inspired by my past experiences. I learned that people truly want to be involved in their community but don’t necessarily know how or where to begin. I started an inclusive dance program as a teen contestant and my high school dance team and little sister have continued it to this day, 4 years later. Seeing the growth of the program showed me that life is all about finding your passion and giving back to your community in whatever way you can.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime?
In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina overtook my hometown and the house I grew up in. This was a time of uncertainty, pain, and destruction for my family. Where were we going to live? Was there anything we could salvage? Are my grandparents still alive? There were so many memories in our house off of East Beach. Even though this was a time of unknowns, I watched family members, friends, and volunteers travel far and wide to come to our time of need. We were exhausted, sweaty, and sad, but we were alive, and we were loved. So very loved.
The one thing I can’t live without: I cannot live without helping children. Once I have attained my academic goals, I want to use my knowledge and creativity to help children through my profession. I would like to be a part of a travel company for occupational therapists in order to work across our country and also in third world countries. Every child deserves opportunities for success and a healthy childhood. Day by day, I want to improve the lives of children everywhere.
My best friend would describe me as: “You are 100% giving of your time, driven, warm, and capable. You are always willing to drop whatever you are doing to help someone in need.” –Marguerite Marquez
Something interesting about my family: Back in the 70s, my paternal grandfather (who I called “T”) went to the beach in Biloxi, MS to watch the 4th of July firework show with his family. He loved fireworks, but that year, the city of Biloxi had to cut the firework show out of their budget. Well this really upset my T, so he decided to form the “Boom Boom Committee” with a friend of his to publicly raise the money for a beautiful 4th of July show. The Biloxi firework show is now one of the largest, longest, and publicly funded firework shows in the southeast. My father is now on the committee, and I hope to one day be a part of the family legacy.
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: When I was in preschool, I had an imaginary friend named Henry. I demanded Henry went everywhere with us, and sometimes we would “forget” him in a restaurant, the grocery store, the movie theatre, etc. I cannot tell you the number of times my family had to turn the car around to go back and pick him up! Finally, after not “seeing” him around, my mother asked me “Where is Henry?” I very casually told her that he had been eaten by an alligator! My family still to this day has a good laugh over the adventures of Henry.
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: Even though I grew up around water, the idea of scuba diving terrifies me. I would love to get my certification in scuba diving and explore the bottom of the ocean. I tend to have a “safe” personality, but the adventurous side of me has been pleading to go.
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names: I have three precious dogs. They are all girls, and their names are Ellie, Junie, and Saks. They are all different, unique, and very special to me.