Miss Alabama ready for duties

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Amanda Tapley may be putting her pre-medical collegiate career temporarily on hold to emcee pageant preliminaries and speak at events, but the newly crowned Miss Alabama believes the year ahead of her presents new learning opportunities of its own.

“It was a very different experience walking onto Samford’s campus to un-enroll,” Tapley said. “Being Miss Alabama is a full-time job and I will be visiting all parts of the state during the next year.”

Tapley feels prepared for the multi-tasking her new role may require. She learned the importance of that during the state pageant.

“I feel like a different person after the competition,” Tapley said. “Each night of competition brought a new obstacle. I think every contestant would agree that I brought leadership skills and self-confidence.”

On her way to the crown, Tapley showed her confidence by capturing two preliminary wins in talent and swimsuit competitions. She performed the “Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor.” She gained her talent from her grandfather, Dr. Witold W. Turkiewicz, a music professor at Samford University for more than four decades.

Tapley is currently pursuing a dual bachelor of science and art degree at Samford University. The specialized degree allows her to continue her training as a pianist, while preparing herself for a future career as a pediatric oncologist. For winning the Miss Alabama pageant, she received more than $15,000 in scholarship money to use when she returns to Samford in 2009. Until then, her schedule is filling up fast.

Her first official appearance as Miss Alabama was to emcee the Miss Shelby County pageant Friday night.

Tapley’s mother said it definitely will change her daughter’s life and the family too is ready for the changes it may bring for them.

“We had a great time as Amanda competed in the pageant,” said Tapley. “It will be a big change for our family because we are so used to having her around all of the time.”

Tapley will also go on to compete for the title of Miss America in January. She will travel to Las Vegas in September to film the reality portion of the pageant.