Miss Minden Featured 1Miss Minden 2015 Baylee Howell tried to sum up her year in one word and came up short; however, she says every girl needs to experience Miss Minden and Miss Louisiana.

“My year as Miss Minden was absolutely incredible,” she said. “I’m really saddened that it’s coming to an end now, and it hasn’t been anything short of amazing. I have grown so much as a person, and I’ve gotten to experience so much. My journey to Miss Louisiana was absolutely incredible.”

She says she met so many people and has made so many friends, adding that six of the Miss Louisiana contestants she competed with go to the University of Louisiana at Monroe with her.

“I met so many young ladies that have made such a huge impact on my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. “I’m still in touch with many of my Miss Louisiana sisters. Going into the Miss Louisiana pageant, I never thought for a second that I would find so many young ladies that I would connect with and have such a strong bond with.”

She spent much of her year promoting her platform Hope for the Homeless. She has spent countless volunteer hours at the Providence House in Shreveport as well as working with the Ronald McDonald House in Monroe. She, along with other volunteers, hosted a children’s craft day at the Providence House where they enjoyed making crafts and spending the day being children.

When she was a junior at Lakeside High School, she began looking into volunteering at the Providence House after reading a newspaper article about it.

“It completely changed my entire outlook on life,” she said. “I want to continue to volunteer and create awareness for this organization, because many people don’t know all the things Providence House does for individuals. It’s not just a homeless shelter; it also has an educational center that allows individuals to go to college and get an education. They also help individuals get a job outside of the Providence House.”

After she passes on her crown Saturday, she says she fully intends to continue to volunteer her time there as well as the Ronald McDonald House. As for competing again, she wants to but not this year. She says she needs to focus on school.

“It’s been a big change for me, moving away from my family and living on my own,” she said. “As of right now, I don’t plan on competing in any preliminary pageants this year, but in the future absolutely. I hope to represent my school, and I absolutely want to go back to Miss Louisiana. I believe every girl should have the opportunity to experience that, because it’s so much more than a pageant.”

While she was a pre-pharmaceutical major when she got to ULM, she has since changed to risk management and insurance.

Howell is a 2015 graduate of Lakeside and is the daughter of Jason Howell and Tawnya Smith.

As she moves to the next phase of her life, her advice to Miss Minden 2016 is to cherish every moment of her reigning year.

“I try to cherish every moment, and I truly believe I did so,” she said. “That’s what I want her to do. It is easy to become stressed while preparing for Miss Louisiana, but I just hope that she steps back and realizes she’s already come so far. She’s representing such a magnanimous city. I hope she realizes that she has an entire city behind her supporting her in Miss Louisiana. No matter the outcome, she is still going to be truly loved by so many people.”