McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

March 27, 2014

Miss McAlester steps down; new title-holder crowned

McALESTER — McAlester High School senior Kaylee Harvanek says she entered the Miss McAlester Pageant last June because she thought it would be fun.

Now, she’s the new Miss McAlester.

Makenna Smith, crowned Miss McAlester in June, 2013, said she can no longer fulfill the duties of the title, according to pageant organizers.

“Due to health issues, she felt she could not compete in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant,” said Lori Few, a member of the  Beta Iota Epsilom Sigma Alpha sorority which hosts the Miss McAlester and Miss Teen McAlester pageants.

Few said that as far as she knows, this marks the first time that a reigning Miss McAlester has had to step down before completion of her term.

Smith’s decision resulted in Harvanek, who was another contestant in 2013, becoming the new Miss McAlester. It also means Harvanek will now represent McAlester in the Miss Oklahoma Pageant, set for June 3-7 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa.

Harvanek and Smith have already gone through an informal ceremony, in which Smith bestowed the crown on the new Miss McAlester.

Harvanek said she’s looking forward to representing McAlester at the state pageant.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “I’m kind of nervous, but it will be a good experience.”

She’s made a few adjustments. She now plans to dance, instead of sing, at the Miss Oklahoma Pageant. She’s also changed her platform from Childhood Obesity to Seize the Day on Epilepsy Awareness, inspired by her younger sister, Morgan.

Kaylee Harvanek said there’s a lot of pressure on Miss McAlester to set a good example, a challenge she’s ready to meet.

“It’s a great leadership role,” said the new Miss McAlester, who is the daughter of Kameron and Tanaye Harvanek.

“It’s a learning process,” Kaylee Harvanek said. “It’s definitely out  of my comfort zone. That’s OK. I like trying new things.”

Having a new Miss McAlester come on board at this time means preparations must quickly get under way for the upcoming Miss Oklahoma Pageant, a precursor to the Miss America Pageant.

“We’ve had the official head shots and have done the paperwork,” said Few, who is director of the Miss Teen  McAlester Pageant and a member of Beta Iota. “We’ve done wardrobe and shopping. We hit the ground running.”

Smith released a statement through Beta Iota regarding her decision to step down from the post.

“I want to sincerely thank the ladies of Beta Iota as well as the citizens of McAlester for allowing me to represent them as Miss McAlester,” Smith said.

“I am very honored to have been Miss McAlester; unfortunately, I am no longer able to fulfill these responsibilities,” due to her illness, she said. “I hope you support me as I devote my time and energy to improving my health. I want to wish Kaylee the best of luck.”

Few spoke of Beta Iota’s admiration of Smith.

“She was a very good representative of the organization,” Few said. “We hate to lose her, but we want her to get better.”

While they regret losing Smith, they are looking forward to continuing to work with Harvanek, according to Few.

“We welcome Kaylee with open arms,” she said.

Jennifer Stewart, director of the Miss McAlester Pageant, agreed. While they were sad to see Smith have to step down, they’re thrilled to have Harvanek as the new Miss McAlester, Stewart said.

As for Harvanek, she’s ready.

“It’s a great honor to get to represent McAlester,” she said.

Contact James Beaty at


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