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Lewis to crown new Miss Independence Beauty queen’s next stop is N.C. State

By By KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER, Staff Writer
Casey Lewis of Bath has the poise and beauty of a fashion model and the brains of a future doctor.
She also has — just for one more day — the title of Miss Independence.
Lewis will crown her successor Tuesday evening during a pageant scheduled for 6 p.m. at Northside High School. Nine young women from Beaufort and Hyde counties are vying for the crown, which is awarded each year as part of Belhaven’s annual July 4 festivities.
When Lewis competed for the Miss Independence title last summer, it was her first foray into the world of pageants.
From there she was runner-up in the North Carolina Forest Festival Queen scholarship pageant in Plymouth and was selected Teen Miss Wayne County, a regional competition held as part of the Princess of North Carolina pageant system. During the latter — in addition to the overall title — she won swimsuit, talent, sportswear, evening gown and photogenic preliminaries.
It requires guts as well as an affinity for glamour to enter a pageant, according to Lewis.
During her reign as Miss Independence, Lewis appeared in parades in Bath and Belhaven and worked on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network, taking part in a recent fundraising telethon. She also assisted with a pancake breakfast at Andy’s in Belhaven, where she was formerly employed, to raise money for the restaurant’s own youth charity, Children’s Miracle League.
Lewis credits much of her success — in life and in pageants — to her family, her church family and her pageant coach, Melissa Smith. And even though Tuesday evening marks the end of her year-long reign as Miss Independence, Lewis hopes there are other titles in her future. She said she is interested in competing for Miss North Carolina and, ultimately, Miss America.
Despite her successes on stage, pageants have been just a small part of her life, Lewis said.
She served as youth group president at Bath United Methodist Church and is a member of the annual conference resolution committee. She is currently working on a proposal for a memorial to victims of Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
A 2007 graduate of Northside High School, Lewis was number two in her class and a member of the Beta Club. Her grades landed her on the All A’s honor roll. She was a graduation marshal her junior year and recipient of the school’s Spanish award as well as varsity captain of the track and cross-country teams.
Lewis was an unlikely choice to play the Wicked Witch of the West in the Northside High production of The Wizard of Oz, but she took on the role, making it her own and perfecting the trademark cackle. She was also active with Panther Pals, Northside’s organization that helps freshmen students become acclimated to high school life.
While beauty queens often wear a formal evening gown, Lewis also donned a crisp uniform as a member of the Northside High Jr. ROTC program. She served as president of the Kitty Hawk Air Society, similar to the Beta Club, and was recipient of the Air Force Association award and the Air Force Sergeant’s Award, both recognizing scholastic excellence. Her involvement in the school’s ROTC program led to a $75,500 Air Force scholarship, which she will put to good use at North Carolina State University, her next destination.
Lewis begins her studies at State within a week of passing on the Miss Independence title. She will start a summer program of classes July 9, getting a head start on her college course work in biology. Her long term goal is to become a doctor.
Lewis is the daughter of Ray and Brenda Lewis and the older sister of Whitney, a rising sophomore at Northside. In addition to pageants and medicine, her hobbies include scrapbooking, running and photography.