Ashley Byrd of Hartsville has been appointed the new executive director and president of The Miss South Carolina Scholarship Pageant. The announcement came just days ago from the Miss America Organization.
Byrd will be responsible for the production of the next Miss South Carolina Pageant in July 2011.
“Under Ashley’s leadership, the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Pageant will continue South Carolina’s rich history of providing scholarship awards to state and local contestants,” The Miss American Organization said in a release. “Ashley and his Board of Directors will continue to empower young women to strive for scholastic excellence, as they become positive forces for social awareness and role models in South Carolina.”
Byrd was one of 13 applicants vying for the directorship. The state license was awarded to Byrd and the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Organization Inc. As part of his application process, Byrd said he presented a 184-page plan for the pageant.
“We are ready,” he said. “Now we just have to execute the plan.”
Byrd said he is excited to have been selected, especially in the pageant’s 75th anniversary year.
Byrd and his board of directors are in the process of looking at options for the host city of the pageant’s 75th event. The Miss South Carolina Scholarship Pageant has been held in Spartanburg for the past 15 years. Byrd said they are looking at several options more centrally located.
“We are going to announce our host city in the next 30 days,” Byrd said. “It will be nice to have a more centrally located location.”
Byrd has been involved in the Miss American Organization through the Miss Hartsville Pageant for the past 17 years. He most recently served as co-executive director, a position he must give up.
Byrd said a new Miss Hartsville Scholarship executive director should be announced soon. He said he is already talking to a potential candidate.
When the opportunity to become the Miss South Carolina Scholarship director became available, Byrd, a Sonoco employee, decided to take his involvement to the next level. He said he realized he was always going to be involved in the Miss American Organization.
He said it will be a lot of work and responsibility; however, he has a good team in place supporting him.
Byrd will be joined by his co-director of the Miss Hartsville Scholarship Pageant Steve Frocchi. Frocchi is the new chairman of the board. Others on his board are Elizabeth Bailey, secretary, and Melissa Eubanks, treasurer.
Asked about his long-range plans for the Miss South Carolina Scholarship Pageant, Byrd said he hopes to get enough funding to have the pageant televised, but he doesn’t think that will happen this year. He said it might be three to five years down the road; however, he hopes to have a webcast for the July production.
Byrd plans to have an office up and running in Hartsville in the next few weeks. He said he will have an office here for at least the next year.
In the first 96 hours after the announcement, Byrd said he received hundreds of e-mails from pageant directors, former contestants and others congratulation him and giving him their support. Byrd said a lot of prospective contestants have been waiting to see who the new executive director would be.
Last year, 45 young women competed for the Miss South Carolina crown. He hopes to have more in the July 2011 pageant. He is also excited about it being the 75th year and said he would like to see many of the former queens return as guests.