Miss Mississippi Volunteer reflects on past 8 months serving the state
Rachel Shumaker reflects on the many successes of the past nine months since being crowned the state’s inaugural Miss Mississippi Volunteer in July 2021.
Serving as the official spokesperson for the Mississippi Highway Patrol’s safe driving campaign titled D.R.I.V.E., Rachel has reached more than 5,000 Mississippians in 35 presentations, traveling over 18,000 miles – a feat which she considers a success for the state as a whole. “I set to work in July with the hope that my work could help bring down Mississippi’s historically-high teen driving fatality statistics,” Shumaker said. “My job is to help young people make the connection between their goals and dreams and how dangerous, yet preventable driving behaviors could be the very things that stop them from getting what they desire out of life.”
Her presentations focus on the “Fatal Four” of driving – distracted driving, impaired driving, seatbelt usage, and speeding. She provides both information and instruction to help teens break bad driving habits and build good ones.
“Rachel’s energy, enthusiasm, and genuine concern for the safety of Mississippi teen drivers are evident in her presentations,” said Colonel Randy Ginn, Director of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. “In partnering with our Public Affairs Officers, Rachel has done far more than we could have anticipated to educate and encourage our youth to drive safely and responsibly.”
In addition to her work, Shumaker has spent time preparing to compete at the nation’s first-ever Miss Volunteer America Scholarship Pageant May 4-7 in Jackson, Tenn., where 47 states will be represented. Among a range of opportunities for personal and career development, winning scholarship dollars, and collaborating with corporate and non-profit partners, Miss Volunteer America will travel the country promoting the organization's five main pillars – Scholarships, Education, Responsibility, Volunteerism, and Empowerment (SERVE).
Her talent presentation will be a fiery piano performance of Ernesto Lecuona’s classic, “Malagueña,” and she will also compete in the phases of private interview, talent, fitness and wellness, and evening gown. “There’s something to be said for preparing for so many different phases of competition and working to be my best at each one,” Shumaker said. “It has certainly instilled in me the values of self-motivation, discipline, and consistency.”
Tickets to view the national pageant can be purchased at www.etix.com.
Shumaker is a 2021 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Mississippi State University, where she earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Communication/Public Relations with a minor in Pre-Law and will begin pursuing her Juris Doctorate this fall.
Her individual platform, I Am Titanium, was inspired by her personal struggles with scoliosis and spinal fusion surgery. Its mission is empowering people to overcome their limitations by providing them with the financial, physical, and emotional tools to become stronger. It places a special focus on fundraising for children’s hospitals and providing comfort to those facing medical challenges. To date, she has raised over $12,000 and dedicated more than 1,050 hours.
The Miss Mississippi Volunteer Pageant is the official state franchise of the Miss Volunteer America Pageant, a nationwide, non-profit, service-oriented scholarship program based in Tennessee that seeks to empower young women across the country through educational scholarships and extraordinary opportunities.
The next Miss Mississippi Volunteer will be crowned on July 9, 2022, in Tupelo. For more information about Miss Mississippi Volunteer, please contact Executive Director Steve Stockton at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit missmississippivolunteer.com.