The student news site of Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington.

Miss Pierce Washington

May 17, 2017

It is not every day that a celebrity graduates from a community college. Yet, next month, Mrs. Pierce Washington will be doing just that.

However, before she dons the maroon mortar board, Ronda Johnson-Dove will be hoping to keep her current crown.

The Mrs. Washington Pageant being held in Olympia in just a couple of weeks is a cousin of the other pageant, Miss America.

Ronda wants to emphasize that beauty and looks are only a part of the Mrs. Pageant. The winner must also show a spirit for community service; she has to present what she is on the inside.

She was not always a pageant contestant and winner. She was a wife and a mom, but felt a need for girlfriends, to be connected to something to make a difference.

Carla Richards, Mrs. Washington for 2010, and a friend from church, asked Ronda for help. She was going to be running again in the pageant and wanted Ronda’s help. While helping Carla, she not only made more friends, but became inspired to run herself.

Last fall Ronda won as Mrs. Lakewood. She said “Paul Gerhardt, a professor here helped play a pivotal role. His constant encouragement challenged me to run in the pageant.”

After talking with the state director, she was able to expand her title to Mrs. Pierce County. She felt the additional exposure would give her a broader base to make connections.

Each contestant is encouraged to pick her own platform. Ronda’s platform is childhood emotional and mental abuse. Part of her inspiration is personal. “It was part of my childhood. I am okay today because of a lot of counseling and a lot of God got me through it,” she said.

She uses her title as a way to bring awareness to the lasting life effects that childhood abuse can cause. She said, “Any event I am invited to start conversations. I ask questions, do they know what about looks like. I ask them if they know what effects does it have. I see a lot of people overwhelmed with life and I want to make sure they get help.”

In five weeks Ronda, aka Mrs. Pierce Washington, will walk across another stage under flashing photographer’s lights. With her Associate’s degree in hand, and a satin banner across her shoulder, she will walk tall, head held high and proud. If asked which one she cherishes the most, she may just give a graceful parade wave with a wide smile as her only answer.

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