Lilly Munro

Miss Deep South

 Hometown:  Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Scholastic Ambition:   Pediatric Gastrologist

Scholastic Honors:   Honor Roll Student, AP Student, Principal List, Superintendent’s Council, Health Occupations Students of America, Science Award, Health Award, Language Arts Award, Social Studies Award, Regional Science Fair Winner, Local Science Fair Winner, Ocean Springs School District Science Fair Winner, Reading Fair Winner

Talent:    Contemporary Jazz

Platform:    America’s Real Hunger Game: 41 Million in Crisis

What makes you special and unique? I have had three organs removed in the span of two years. Going through these medical procedures has confirmed my desire to become a doctor. I also believe this has given me the ability to relate with my patients in the future because I understand better what they are going through and how they feel.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize?      Most people think I am only a cheerleader because of my involvement in middle school and high school cheer. Most do not know that I have also been a competitive dancer since the age of two.

Best advice you have ever received? Everything happens for a reason

What can’t you live without? I can’t live without Starbucks!

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?  My biggest guilty pleasure is watching Chrisley Knows Best.

What is your favorite movie genre and why? I love Romantic Comedies because they make me laugh and cry at the same time.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I see myself graduating with an undergraduate degree in four years and continuing my education in medical school.

Most valuable lesson learned? Hard work and determination pays off.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? My doctor, Dr. April Ulmer, is my role model. She is the only pediatric gastrologist on the Gulf Coast. Out of all the many doctors I have had, she has made a huge impact on my life. She helped me decide that I want to become a doctor and help children just like she helped me.

What motivates you?  My family motivates me because they always support and encourage me in everything I do.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? I have won multiple dance titles and have been chosen as an All-American Cheerleader 3 years in a row. I also won a State Championship with my school cheer team.

Best compliment you have ever received? I am mature for my age. I have already experienced many life events so far and these experiences have helped shape my perspective on life which has had the benefit of maturity for me.

Secret wish or dream? My dream for as long as I can remember is to have a pet pig. I became obsessed with pigs when I was a little girl and watched the movie Charlotte’s Web. After that, I carried around a toy pig and named every pig I saw Wilbur. I also announced on television on our local news station that I wanted to be a pig farmer. Obviously, I did not know what that truly meant!

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? One of the funniest things that has happened to me is when I entered the science fair and decided to race rodents through a maze. When we bought them and took them home to begin “the trials” we put them in paper cages and every single one of them chewed through and escaped into our house. Needless to say, it was a long night searching for the rodents and my family was not very happy with my experiment. But in the end, it was all worth it because I ended up winning the regional science fair.

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? I have bad hand-eye coordination, so any sport with a ball that I would like to try does not end well. I have always wanted to play soccer because it looks like fun and they have cute costumes.

What is your super power? Having the ability to do quick costume changes.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? I have learned the importance of being involved with my state and giving back to my community. As teenagers we are learning to be more mindful of those in need and that it is our responsibility to take necessary action.

Describe yourself in one word. Flexible.

A Fun Family Fact? A fun fact about my family is we all have a very distinct laugh. When we are together, we enjoy each other very much and everyone around knows that it is my family before they ever see us.

My name is Lillian Falls Munro but my friends call me Lilly. I am 16 years old and I am a sophomore at Ocean Springs High School. I have an older sister named Grace, and she helped introduce this organization to me when she won the title of Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen 2014. As I watched her through her journey of her title, I always wanted to do what she was doing and someday compete for the same title. Here I am 5 years later doing just that! I have been dancing and been a competitive dancer since I was 2 years old. I attend Kelli‘s Steps School of Dance and I am on the competition team. I have won many titles and 1st overalls for my solos and group numbers. I have been cheering since the 7th grade. I was on the competition team in middle school and we won the state championship my 7th grade year. I have been a varsity cheerleader the last 3 years. I have also been an All-American Cheerleader 3 years in a row. At school, I am involved in our Cotillion Club, Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA), and was a part of the Superintendent’s Council my freshman year. In my Health Sciences Program at school, we go to clinicals and learn all about health care which has helped me decide that I would like to pursue a career in the medical field.

My passion is in health care. In the 8th grade I became a “medical mystery” after falling ill very quickly without an explanation. I was on homebound for 8 months and did all my school work on my own. My disease process was not stereotypical, and therefore, the doctors had a difficult time diagnosing what was wrong. Ultimately my gallbladder had become diseased and had to be removed immediately. About 2 years after my gallbladder was removed, I had recurring strep throat infections. Strep virus infected my tonsils and my entire body. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with chronic strep and had surgery to remove my tonsils in January of 2019. My “medical mystery” journey has been physically and emotionally challenging. However, I have learned how to become more optimistic, patient, and to persevere through the hard times. It has taught me that everything happens for a reason. It has also taught me how important good health really is. My journey will help me become a better doctor in the future and will help me empathize with my patients.

My platform is “America’s Real Hunger Game: 41 Million in Crisis”.  I was exposed to the inexcusable problem of hunger in our communities at a very young age. On Christmas break in the first grade, my mother, sister and I delivered meals and sang songs to elderly shut-ins through the food kitchen, The Lord is My Help. I have vivid memories of the joyful and appreciative elderly people who we met that Christmas that have remained with me to this day. I struggled to understand the concept that there were people who did not have enough to eat, and went hungry. It was hard to imagine what it must be like to go without enough food as a child. From the school cafeteria, to snack time, and to the many birthday party celebrations, food seemed to me to be abundant. However, I learned this was not the case for many.

In December of 2017, I was visiting with family in Las Vegas and realized the issue of hunger was not unique to people in my state, Mississippi. I immediately encountered large shelters of homeless people begging for food. This new experience inspired me to take action and try and alleviate at least part of the suffering I saw, and gave me the idea to take some action, however small. I delivered 10 meals we purchased to the homeless over the days we spent in Las Vegas. It was a small contribution in light of how enormous this crisis is. But, it had the effect of making me contemplate the size of the hunger problem in our country is, and also what sort of effort it would take to defeat it. When I came home, I wanted to become more involved in feeding the hungry in my own community. I discovered the organization Backpack Buddies which provides children meals over the weekend when free school lunches and breakfasts are not available. One of my favorite teachers, Mrs. Carlisle, oversees our school districts program through the Methodist Church. She explained to me the process and the need for funding. This motivated me to raise $767.00 to fund meals for over 153 hungry children in my community.

At present, I continue the fight to end hunger in my community through partnering with Sonic and U.S. Foods with the goal of providing enough food to prepare over 100 meals for the needy through the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry and Our Lady of Fatima Church in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I am organizing volunteers and delivering meals needed to help the pantry and the church fulfill the needs for feeding people for the day.  Also, I have volunteered to help organize and recruit people to assist with the Annual Chefs Challenge fundraiser in Biloxi to raise money for Feed the Gulf Coast, a division of the Feed America organization.  Even the smallest meal can make a difference in a child or person’s life. One step at a time, one person in need at a time and one community at a time, I hope to help end this terrible crisis.