As a transfer student, junior Mira Baker may know fewer of her Georgetown College classmates than most. But, after winning the 2011 Belle of the Blue Scholarship Pageant on Saturday night, chances are a good percentage of the student body knows who this Somerset Community College graduate is now.
In fact, Mira gave the audience something to really think about with her answer to the interview question (What would you do to improve Georgetown College?). A student at SCC her first two years, she advocated for better orientation for transfers. On Monday, she elaborated: “You feel awkward as a transfer and you don’t quite know where to jump in. I have an outgoing personality, but I empathize with those who aren’t comfortable stepping outside their comfort zone.”
Actually, last year’s Somerset CC student government president wasted little time in becoming involved in Georgetown’s Student Government Association Senate her first semester this fall and helping International Programs Director Emily Brandon with the College’s International Week.
She’s also gaining valuable experience off campus for the future. An Elementary Education major, Mira had a small taste this fall as a teacher assistant at Georgetown’s Garth Elementary.
Thanks to the College’s Graves Center for Calling & Career, the Political Science minor is currently interning in Frankfort with Rep. Tommy Turner of Somerset (R-KY 85th District). “Getting to go on the House floor with him and seeing bills passed is really eye-opening,” she said.
The two young women in Mira’s court are also quite involved in campus life. First runner-up Jaime Horne, a sophomore from Paris, is a member of the Tiger cheerleading squad, Student Athlete Leadership Council, Kappa Delta sorority and Habitat for Humanity (secretary). Second runner-up and Overall Scholarship winner Anna Fiechter, a Parks Baptist Scholar sophomore from London, is a member of the Tiger Dance team, Campus Ministry Leadership Team, SGA House of Representatives, Kappa Delta sorority, and Panhellenic.
Despite being still new to the Georgetown campus, Mira Baker had a pageant resume and an air of confidence going into the Belle of the Blue that was pretty imposing. She had won three consecutive Miss Kentucky preliminary competitions – Miss Berea Area 2009, Miss Bardstown Area 2010 (then finishing in the Miss Kentucky Top 10) and Miss Bluegrass Area 2011. Coronation for the latter was on the same Hill Chapel stage as Belle of the Blue, prompting her to say, “I sure wish Miss Kentucky was held here!”
A talented singer, Mira is a product of the School for Creative & Performing Arts at Lafayette, Class of ’06 – in only three years! Originally from Fleming-Neon in Letcher County (till age 8), she is extremely proud of her Lexington/SCAPA background and Fayette County’s Jessie Clark Middle School before that. Sometimes now she performs at a weekend venue in Paris called Musicland, where one may also hear former Miss Kentuckys such as Nancy Cox, Heather French Henry and Chera Lyn Cook-Kennedy.
Saturday night at Belle of the Blue, Mira wore a royal blue gown as she sang Ella Fitzgerald’s interpretation of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” for her talent. Her white evening gown was a French Henry design liberally sprinkled with opalescent stones that often shone blue. The day after the coronation, she went out and purchased two Pandora charms – a blue magnolia and a bell.
Her platform for the Miss Kentucky Scholarship Pageant in July is “Music Adds Up” and in the meantime she’s working with public school administrators, teacher, students and tax-paying parents (she’s quick to emphasize) about the importance of music in the classrooms. She cites herself as a good example. “I wasn’t good at sports and music gave me so many opportunities, plus it enriches the core curriculum.”
She’s also developing a website by the same name – Music Adds Up – calling it “a performing arts swap shop.” This networking portal should be ready by summer and will enable one to swap for such items as instruments, costumes and sheet music and be out only the price of postage.
Preparing for Miss Kentucky, the internship with Rep. Thompson and keeping up with her studies (3.667 GPA) are all-consuming. But, Mira said the opportunities for internships and hopefully a semester abroad is why she chose Georgetown College for her final two years. “You can get such individual attention and develop really meaningful connections here,” she said.
In no time, Mira sought out former Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins – Georgetown’s first Executive Scholar-in-Residence – for advice and inspiration. “Gov. Collins started out as a teacher and she saw how she could change the community through education – then went on to larger communities,” she said. “That’s something I’ll have to do some day.”
She’s also very high on the College’s Education Department for its emphasis on leadership. “They are training to be community leaders, not just be in teachers in the classroom.”
Mira’s mother, Diana Baker, is an educator – an English as a Second Language teacher for Somerset Independent Schools. She’s also working on her doctorate in Higher Education Administration at University of the Cumberlands.
Her father, Keith, is a Master Industrial Electrician with Complete Inc. in London, and runs their 400-acre farm on Lake Cumberland in Pulaski County.