By Benjamin Bullard
The Cullman Times
Rebecca Long couldn’t get arrested in Hanceville right now.
That’s a (little) joke. In fact, the Wallace State freshman — and daughter of Hanceville police chief Bob Long — is a pretty popular woman, after taking home top honors in the 2013 Miss Wallace State pageant Sunday.
The honor comes with a scholarship, as well as a year’s worth of recognition as an ambassador for the college. But it also automatically qualifies Long for participation in the Miss Alabama pageant, which will take place at Samford University in June.
“I’m honored to represent Wallace State, and I love my school,” said the 19-year-old Tuesday.
“I’m nervous, but I’m very excited. I never thought I would have the opportunity to be in the Miss Alabama pageant. Now I’m just really anxious; I’m ready to start preparing so I can do my best. It’s just an honor to be in the same pageant with so many girls who have worthwhile platforms and are doing so much good with their talents. I’m blessed and absolutely thrilled.”
For her pageant platform, Long’s shining a light on Locks of Love, a nonprofit dedicated to boosting the self-esteem of children who’ve lost their hair because of various medical diagnoses. The organization provides hairpieces to children who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
“I have personally donated to Locks of Love four times, for a total of 47 inches’ worth of my own hair,” Long explained. “I feel cutting my hair every two years is kind of my contribution to letting young people know they’re still beautiful, even when they don’t have their hair.”
Rebecca, a 2012 valedictorian at Hayden High School, is the daughter of Bob and Yolanda Long. She intends to enter the nursing program at Wallace State, and hopes to pursue a Master’s degree while working as a nurse in pediatric oncology.
Tahauny Cleghorn of Cullman finished first runner-up in the competition, and was named the talent winner for her vocal performance. Long and Savannah Nichols of Cullman tied to win the fitness/swimsuit competition.
All Miss Wallace State contestants received a cash scholarship. Long will also receive a full tuition and fees scholarship to Wallace State.
Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.