Miss Maryland compiles book on past winners

June 15, 1999|By GREG SIMMONS

If you want to know what happened to a former Miss Maryland after she won the state's most prestigious scholarship pageant for women, check out "14:59: The Miss Maryland Journal."

The book, compiled by Miss Maryland 1998 Heather Davis, is one place to start.

"I've always been a lover of history," Davis said.

She said she decided to detail a history of the lives of Miss Marylands in time for the last pageant of the 1900s.

"I wanted to have their insights into life," she said.

Two of the 63 pageant winners were from Hagerstown.

For the book, Robin Harmon, Miss Maryland 1981, wrote about her rise after winning the Miss Maryland pageant to her eventual incarceration.

"I socialized with celebrities on an endless basis," Harmon wrote. "I had it all, a very bright future ahead of me ...


"Over the years, drugs became a way of life...," she wrote. "I was sentenced to 16 years in prison."

Harmon currently is at the Baltimore Pre-Release Unit for Women.

"It happens to the best of us, but I've learned that our most wrenching experiences offer us the most opportunities to gain wisdom and self-assurance," Harmon wrote.

Karissa Brooke Jones, Hagerstown's Miss Maryland 1994, wrote about her pageant experiences, the support she needed to win the pageant and the work she has done in the last four years.

As Miss Maryland, she worked to implement a conflict-resolution project in elementary schools with the aim of curbing youth violence.

"Leave (the Miss Maryland position) knowing that you did everything you could to make a difference in the lives of those you encountered. Sometimes making that difference takes no more than simply being yourself," Jones wrote.

Davis, 24, spent her year as Miss Maryland lobbying against drunken driving and tobacco in Annapolis and talking to elementary, middle and high school students about drug abuse and prevention.

Davis, who is from Annapolis, said she has lost five close friends to drug use.

She said she will use the $33,000 in scholarship money she received from the Miss Maryland Foundation to enroll in a doctorate program in communications.

Davis said it took her about eight months to compile the information for her book. She asked the former Miss Maryland winners she was able to contact to write four or five pages about themselves, including things they have done since they won and any advice they have for future Miss Marylands.

What she received was 143 pages of testimonials and photo history about the pageant, starting with Miss Maryland 1948. Davis included herself as the last winner and 29th entry in the book.

"All of them had their unique contributions to our state," Davis said.

"I'm hoping that people in Maryland read my book to know what Miss Marylands do for their state and how much community service they put in," she said.

The "14:59" in the book's title stands for 14 minutes, 59 seconds - meaning that her "15 minutes of fame" as Miss Maryland are nearly over. Davis said she included it in the title to reflect the brevity of her stint as Miss Maryland.

Davis will sign her book at the Sheraton Four Points Inn from 4:45 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday.

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