Congratulatons to Hunter Widvey, who has been named Miss South Dakota 2022.
Widvey shares, “I graduated from Augustana University last year with majors in biology and government international affairs, and then I was planning on starting medical school here in this upcoming July, but that will be put on hold for the next year, as I am Miss South Dakota. In my free time, I love to figure skate and sing. So maybe you see me around town doing some of those things. And I have two younger sisters that I love spending time with.”
Widvey, who attended Stevens High School, talks about how she got involved in this scholarship competition.
“So over the years, the Miss America Organization has really shifted more towards, you know, promoting education and scholarships. And so it’s a big scholarship competition now. I first got talked into doing it when I was between my junior and senior year of high school. And a lady at my local ice skating rink was like, ‘Oh, you can sing, can you do a pushup?’ Because in the teen, the teen version, they have where you have to do a push up in front of everyone. And I was like, okay, I think I got that. I can handle that. And so she’s like, You’d be a perfect fit for this. And I was like, I don’t know, because I was thinking for Toddlers and Tiaras like pageants, they get kind of a rep.”
When Widvey’s parents were told about the scholarships, they encouraged Widvey to participate.
“So I tried it. I won Miss Rapid City’s Outstanding Teen, and this was in 2016. And then later that year, I won Miss South Dakota’s Outstanding Teen, and I’ve been hooked ever since. So I’ve competed at Miss South Dakota two times before this year. And this year I won Miss SD.”
Widvey explains what she likes most about the program. “It gives me a voice to promote things that are important to me. So something I’m going to promote this year and I’ve been promoting it with my previous title, Miss Huron, is Childhood Cancer Awareness. And so everyone that’s involved in the program has something that’s important to them that they have the voice to promote. And I think that’s really great that it gives us the opportunity to do that, because if it weren’t for this organization, I don’t know if I would have had the opportunities to go out and raise more money for kids that are fighting cancer and just raise awareness for it.”
Having had personal experience of losing friends and family to cancer, Widvey explains why this cause is so important. “I was in middle school, there was a girl that passed away at my school from cancer. And then later on, my cousin, who was very young, also passed away from cancer. And it’s really hard. It’s hard in the community. It’s hard in their families. Obviously, no one wants to see a child battle cancer or pass away from it. And then later, when I was at Augustana University, I volunteered at the Sanford Children’s Hospital. And so I got to know many pediatric cancer patients. And it’s something that really is close to my heart. And I want to raise more awareness and funding for it, because right now, childhood cancer only receives 8% of the National Cancer Institute research funds. And so it’s not enough, and we need to do more for those kids.”
Widvey’s journey as Miss South Dakota has just begun. “In December I get to compete at Miss America in Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun, so I’m really excited about that.”
Widvey also says, “I’m really excited to get more girls involved in it because I think more people need to know about how many scholarships you can get, how you can really develop your speaking skills. There’s just so much you can gain from this organization. I’ve earned over $15,000 competing this organization, which has helped me find my undergraduate education, and then it’s going to help me with my medical school education, which is going to be very expensive. So if you’re a young woman looking for ways to pay for college or further your education, this is a great way to get involved.”
For more information regarding the Miss South Dakota competition, click here.