Samford"s Kelly Jones
Claims Miss Alabama Title
months after being hospitalized for toxic shock syndrome, Samford
graduate Kelly Jones '99 was crowned Miss Alabama in June.
The Birmingham resident, who will represent her state in the Miss
America Pageant in September, was diagnosed with the syndrome earlier
this year. She describes it as a bacterial infection that takes
over the blood stream.
The antibiotics prescribed for the condition caused her to lose
more than half her hair, and she debated whether to compete in the
Miss Alabama competition.
Now fully recovered, Kelly decided to compete because this would
be her last year of eligibility. By winning, she received $14,000
in scholarships in addition to other prizes. She will use the money
to finance a masterís degree in music education at the University
of Alabama, where she is now studying.
A pianist, she will play Chopin's "First Ballade in G Minor"
in the Miss America talent competition.
started working on it my senior year in college," she said
of the 10-minute composition. "It had to be cut to two minutes
max for competition. Dr. Betty Sue Shepherd (of the Samford faculty)
helped with that."
studied under Shepherd at Samford. As an undergraduate, she was
a four-year recipient of the highly competitive Miller-Shepherd
Scholarship awarded to outstanding piano students. She was Miss
When she competes in the Miss America pageant, Jones is sure to
have a large cadre of young friends back in Alabama pulling for
In addition to the middle school youngsters she has befriended through
her work with Boys and Girls Clubs, she has a younger fan base among
the Samford Piano Preparatory students she has taught for the past
Her platform is built around a peer program for adolescents at Boys
and Girls Clubs of Central Alabama, Inc. After creating PRM [Peer
Role Model] in 1997, she received endorsement to incorporate it
into the Boys and Girls Clubs program in 1998.
"Boys and Girls Clubs are wonderful. They provide a very positive
place for kids," she said, noting the special emphasis on character
development. Her PRM concept encourages youth to identify a peer,
not an adult, who is a good role model. By identifying peers in
such a way, each young person will be encouraged to be a good role
model for others of the same age, she believes.