Faith Hewett feature

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 26, 2007


— To get where you want to be in life, you’ve got to have faith.

Belief in oneself, combined with determination and hard work, are the ingredients for success.

Faith Hewett, 16, is quite familiar with this recipe, as her diligence paid off this year.

The daughter of Renae and Chris Hewett of Sedley, Faith participated in the Miss Southampton High School pageant for the third consecutive year and was the first junior crowned since the event’s inception four years ago. The event was sponsored by teachers Shelly Hogge and Katherine Banton.

“Once you’ve participated, it seems to grow on everyone,” said Hewett. “Many of the girls come back to compete again. The winners in the past have all been seniors.”

The competition is open to all girls at the school. This time Faith was up against 15 other students vying for the title.

Not only did Hewett take the crown this year, she also earned five other awards: the People’s Choice award, tallied from audience votes; Miss Congeniality, chosen by the other contestants; and Best Evening Gown, Best Sportswear and Best Talent.

Hewett worked her way up to the title, her first year competing as the only freshman and receiving the Best Interview award. She finished in the top 12. Her second year, she placed as second runner up. It wasn’t until this year that a rule was changed, allowing the top five to place in the “Best” categories. This was also the first time the People’s Choice award was given, and audience members donated $1 for their votes. The winner of the award received half the total.

“We practiced twice a week until crunch time,” said Hewett. “Then when the competition got closer, we practiced almost every day. We also had a dress rehearsal night. Even our escorts had to be there.”

“We were escorted by the male of our choice,” she said. “I had my dad escort me.”

“We performed an opening number. Another thing that was new to this year’s pageant was that the Aftershock Dance team of Windsor School of Dance choreographed the opening number. They also performed.”

The dance school provided an artistic backdrop for the show that reflected the theme, “Night at the Disco.”

Hewett said, “After you participate (in the pageant) more than once, you get more comfortable on stage. It definitely makes it more fun, and not so much like a job.”

Dancing since she was 3, Hewett performed a jazzy dance number for the talent segment.

“My mom used to teach dance, so she helped me pick out the song and costume,” she said.

Judges were chosen from the North Carolina and Hampton Roads area to reduce any potential for bias in selections. Two of the judges will be participants in the next Miss America Pageant.

“I was shocked that I made it that far,” said Hewett, “but then, I put in a lot of hard work. Whitney did, too.” Whitney Councill was first runner-up.

Said Hewett, “It is still a shock. It’s like all a blur.”

Hewett has already been asked to attend a couple of parades, and has made a public appearance at a meeting at Capron Elementary School. Since the competition has taken a new turn this year with new sponsors, Hewett will have the opportunity to set guidelines on what will be expected of queens to come.

“I talked to Mrs. Banton about setting up a scholarship, but I have no idea at this point, what it will take,” Hewett said. “I have to find out more about it before I tackle it.”

Miss Southampton High insisted that her tiara will go on her head, but not to her head.

“I’m the same person,” she said. “I still come home, do my homework and sleep like everyone else.”

She noted that it was important to have fun while competing, and advised future participants to make that a priority.

“Don’t participate because someone told you to,” she said. “Do it because of who you are and express who you are on stage. Do what you think is right. You can be natural. You don’t have to try so hard that you’re being fake.”

Faith is a devoted member of Rock Church in Franklin. She is a member of the Blackwater Volleyball Association Junior Olympic team and captain of the varsity volleyball team at school.

She is serving as secretary of the Student Government Association, the Key Club and the junior class and prom committee. She is also prayer leader for the Christian Club, a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, Tribe, the French and Varsity clubs, the tennis team and the National Honor Society.

She placed as a merit finalist during both years she has participated in the Pre-Teen Virginia Scholarship and Recognition Program.