by MATT MOLINAR/Opinion Editor
Starting her college career with no desire to enter the world of pageantry, Jaycee Caldwell was crowned Miss Lubbock 2016 earlier in the summer.
Caldwell, a sophomore biology major at South Plains College, grew up in Lubbock and graduated from Idalou High School. At SPC, Caldwell spends her time as a Texan cheerleader, and she also serves as president of the Student Government Association.
She began her pageant career at SPC by winning the Miss Caprock pageant in December while representing the Plainsman Press.
“From there, I didn’t really think about going any further, but I had family friends talk to me about doing Miss Lubbock,” explains Caldwell. “So I thought ‘You know, why not?’”
After receiving encouragement from others, Caldwell signed up for the Miss Lubbock Texas Pageant. Contestants are judged on presentation in an opening dance number, swimsuit and evening gowns, as well as an interview segment. The winner of the pageant receives many prizes, including a scholarship from Texas Tech University. Caldwell not only holds the pageant title, but was also voted most photogenic, and best swimsuit, as well as the people’s choice.
“It is definitely an honor,” Caldwell says. “I was the face of Lubbock, as well as a role model to a lot of younger kids and even girls my age. I’ve made so many connections with people in Lubbock.”
After receiving the Miss Lubbock crown, Caldwell moved on to represent Lubbock at the Miss Texas USA pageant in Houston during the last weekend in August. Although Caldwell did not win the Miss Texas USA pageant, with 100 contestants participating, she says she was able to make new connections and hopes to someday return to the competition.
“I do admit, Miss Texas was kind of overwhelming,” Caldwell says. “But my first experience in a pageant was not long ago. I went from competing against eight girls, to competing against 100. Half of them had already been there before and were about 22 years old or 25. I don’t know how soon it will be, but I do hope to return.”
She has plans to get more involved with the community of Lubbock as Miss Lubbock.
“Now, I get to experience my reign as Miss Lubbock,” Caldwell says. “Now that Miss Texas is over, I am going to start making more appearances, starting with Sept. 16 for what is called Big Wheels Deliver Meals for Meals on Wheels. Then we will be in a couple of style shows. But I really want to get into community service, especially with kids. I love working with kids. I’m excited to get started.”
As for her career, Caldwell is currently working on receiving her associate’s degree in biology at SPC. She then plans to transfer to TTU and earn her bachelor’s degree before pursuing medical school.
“My ultimate goal is to become a pediatrician,” Caldwell says. “I love kids, and that has been my dream since I was very young. Maybe someday, after I get my degree, I want to start my own practice in Lubbock, just because I’m a Lubbock, Texas girl. I think I’m always going to be around here.”