She has already won the Miss Collegiate Indy pageant. Now Butler senior Michelle Ferro looks to June, when she’ll compete with about 35 young Indiana women to become Miss Indiana and represent the state in the Miss America pageant.
“My baton coach, Rachael Bazzell, had such a big influence on me, and she would talk about the benefits of doing pageants to earn scholarship money for school,” Ferro said. “She pushed me to get started, and I really enjoy it.”
In the Miss Indiana contest, participants are judged in interview, swimsuit, and evening gown competitions. The Miss Collegiate Indy pageant included a talent segment, where the South Bend native showed off her baton-twirling skills.
Ferro, who twirls for Butler as part of the marching band, twirled baton to a song called “Do Your Thing” by Basement Jaxx.
Miss Collegiate Indy contestants are judged on style, scholarship, success, and service. Ferro’s service project is improving literacy in Indiana. She worked with the IndyReads program for a time, and now she does a lot of tutoring for Butler’s College of Education.
“My goal as Miss Collegiate Indy is to go on a school tour and read to kids and talk about the importance of reading,” she said. “And to talk to adults as well.”
While pageants and even twirling are relatively new to Ferro, teaching has been part of her life for as long as she can remember. She grew up playing school in her basement. When her family would go on car trips, “I would bring my teacher tote with me and grade papers we had created with different student handwriting. That was fun for me.”
Ferro came to Butler to be a physician’s assistant but found that the major didn’t fit, so she switched to education.
“I love the College of Education here,” she said. “They get you really involved in the classroom.”
Ferro is working toward degrees in education and biology, with a plan to teach high school anatomy and physiology and “do something along the biomedical pathway. Then, maybe somewhere along the line, teach at the college level. But I don’t know where life’s going to take me.”
Perhaps Atlantic City and the Miss America pageant in September?