Continuing from Miss Black Dynasty to Miss Cover Girl to royal legacy, this native of Louisiana is no stranger to royalty and elegance. Last Thursday, Geralka “Gerri” Jackson was crowned the 58th Miss Grambling State University as lights flared, applause rang and emotions echoed off the brick walls of T.H Harris Auditorium.
With its theme “The Night a Dream Came True,” the event was filled with on lookers draped in semiformal attire, rooting not only for the newly crowned Jackson, but also for the organizational stars.
Organizations included Divine Nine Greek fraternities and sororities, religious organizations and departmental club representation.
During the event, Jackson says she was not able to view the entire show, but reflected sitting back stage in amazement.
“I was backstage the entire night up until the moment I made my entrance. Aside from the butterflies and nervousness I was so anxious to see what everything looked like,” said Jackson.
The planning for the special occasion took several months to execute said Terry Lilly, who was instrumental in organizing the coronation.
“What we do is get together and get with the upcoming Miss Grambling desire and throughout the summer and we brainstormed. Once things start getting together we try to fulfill her desires,” said Lilly.
After being carried onto the stage by several hulking men, her emotions took over as she thanked her family and her supporters.
“It is imperative that you surround yourself with people who love you and support you and love,” she said. “I will not be able to stand up here tonight without those people.”
The occasion was a must-see amongst students, who soaked in the ambiance.
“The night was intimate it was very mellow calm and real smooth, put you in the mood,” says Stephanie Barfield a senior psychology major from Haughton.
The crowning of Jackson, came with much more than just lights, cameras and an emotional acceptance speech, but instead a message.
“If you have a dream or goal that you want to achieve go for it because in order to achieve great things you must first dream big dreams,” said Jackson. “Becoming Miss Grambling started off as a dream that eventually came true.”
In May, Miss Grambling became the first candidate to run unopposed in recent memory and says she did it for the love of her institution and passion for people.
Her love for GSU is what motivates her to unify and glue the student body together intimately.
“Family supports each other through good times; that is a true family…I want to see my family excel; I want to see #GramFam excel and in order to do that we all must get involved and come together,” she said.
Now that the coronation is over Jackson has already began to plan her tenure.
“Next up for myself, as well as the royal court is of course cheering the G-Men on to victories at football games as well as a large amount of community service and service learning projects,” said Jackson.
She also wants to challenge students academically, socially and help support the mission of GSU.
“I challenge each student to have a greater deal of pride and respect for our institution,” said Jackson.