Haas headed to state pageant | Collierville Independent


As a child, Jessica Haas was given coloring books and crayons to help keep her quiet. The enthusiastic toddler would often finish all the pages in one sitting and ask her mother for more paper.

This week, the 22-year-old Memphis College of Art senior and 2013 Miss Collierville will take the Miss Tennessee stage using art as her talent in this official state preliminary to the Miss America Pageant.

“It’s my God-given talent and I am so honored to glorify him by using my artistic skills at Miss Tennessee,” Haas said. “Picasso, Rembrandt and Michelangelo took years to create their well-known masterpieces. But during the talent competition, I will only have 90-seconds.” When asked about her talent portrait, she states that she wants to keep that a secret until she performs it on the Carl Perkins Civic Center stage Friday night, June 21.

Since winning the Miss Collierville title in February, Haas has been serving the town and Shelby County through her community service platform of mentoring disadvantaged youth.

Born into poverty in her native state of Texas, Haas lived in government housing during her formative years. Her mother was a high school dropout, but worked hard to obtain her G.E.D. and support Jessica and her brother.

“My community service work is my legacy. I am proof that we are not bound by our circumstances; rather we can choose to survive and set out on a journey of determination to succeed in life,” Haas said. “Many youth from low income households face obstacles that have negative implications on their daily and future lives. Our youth need to be equipped with tools of resilience to overcome life’s circumstances.”

Over the past five years, she has served as a motivational public speaker for schools, youth groups, churches, events and organizations in Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas. She has work with area organizations, such as the U.S. Dream Academy-Memphis, to motivate youth. Haas brings art into her presentation to show children that they can make a “message out of a mess.”

Her focus on scholastics allowed her to receive a scholarship to the Memphis College of Art which helped her find her way to West Tennessee. She has also attended Union University in Jackson. Her goal is to purse graphic design and web design as a career choice, but ultimately she would like to attend seminary and work with a girls’ ministry.

Three preliminary nights of competition begin on June 19 and will feature 36 contestants in talent, swimwear, evening gown and on-stage question segments. On June 22, the field will be narrowed down to choose the next Miss Tennessee, who will represent the state in the 2013 Miss America Pageant.

As part of the world’s largest scholarship program for young women, the Miss Tennessee Organization will award more than $70,000 in scholarships to this year’s contestants.

The Miss Tennessee Pageant will be held at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in downtown Jackson nightly at 8 p.m.

For more information on the Miss Collierville Scholarship Organization, visit misscollierville.org.haas2