June 23, 2003
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lisa Ferris, a rising junior at The Catholic University of America, has been crowned Miss District of Columbia 2003 in the local scholarship program leading to the 2003 Miss America Competition.
Ferris, 20, a musical theater major who works in CUA’s Office of Student Programs and Events as a facilities manager, will compete for scholarships and the national title during the next Miss America competition in Atlantic City, to be televised Saturday, Sept. 20, 2003, at 8 p.m. on ABC.
The Portland, Ore., native is a graduate of Portland’s Jesuit High School and a member of St. Michael’s the Archangel Parish. She plans to use her time as Miss District of Columbia 2003 to fight childhood obesity by promoting nutrition and exercise for children.
“What a rush!” she said, on learning she had won the crown. “This has been so much fun, and I have a lot to look forward to. I’m excited about the Miss America competition and the opportunity to take my platform to a national level. To have a chance to spend a year promoting health is an incredible opportunity.”
Ferris won the talent competition of the program, after performing the song “Home” from “Beauty and the Beast.”
“We’re proud to have one of our musical theater majors recognized for her outstanding talent, poise and plans for public service,” said Amy Antonelli, assistant dean of CUA’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music. “I’m sure this is just the start of a wonderful performance career.”
CUA alumna Tricia (Morrin) Lloyd, who won the title of Miss District of Columbia in 1988, was there to see Ferris crowned on Saturday night at the University of the District of Columbia Auditorium.
“She won the talent award and she definitely deserved it,” said Lloyd, a Washington, D.C., resident who graduated from CUA in 1986 with a B.A. in business and economics. “She did a great interview and has a wonderful talent. I think we have an impressive representative for Catholic University.”
Ferris has been dancing since she was six years old and singing seriously since her freshman year in high school. Since coming to CUA as a freshman she has performed the role of Bebe in a campus production of “A Chorus Line,” and recently performed in a children’s show at The Adventure Theater in Maryland’s Glen Echo Park.
“I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by some incredibly talented people in high school and at CUA’s Benjamin T. Rome School of Music,” Ferris said. “It’s been a blessing working with them and learning from them. My voice teacher at CUA, Fleta Hylton, has been an inspiration and was integral in the development of my voice.”
Ferris also credits her Catholic faith with her success in the competition.
“The Jesuits hold performing as an important element of education, so that environment has always been very supportive,” she said. “And faith has always been at the root of what I do. It’s been a guiding force in my life.”
Ferris was one of a dozen women in the D.C. pageant. She won a $3,500 scholarship and will have many more scholarship opportunities in the Miss America competition this fall.
Lloyd, a lifelong Catholic who has since gone to work as the executive director for the U.S. office for the Pontifical North American College (the American seminary in Rome), said Ferris will learn a lot during her participation in the pageant process.
“It gives you confidence and self-reliance — it teaches you how to make things happen,” she said. “And there’s no job interview you can't handle after doing Miss America.”
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