The fall semester is setting the stage for a new king and queen to take the lead on uplifting the university and community.
With compelling platforms and a zeal for change, both Miss and Mister SC State 2019-20 received the highest number of votes from fellow students during the spring semester. Although they both admire and appreciate their beloved institution, the eloquent duo is eager to find new ways to enhance it.
Kayla Hasty, a senior majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry, is from Ridgeland, South Carolina. Serving as the 82nd Miss SC State University, she attends the university on a full-ride scholarship and considers choosing SC State the best decision she has ever made.
“My experience at SC State has groomed me into a better woman and functional citizen of society. I love the family atmosphere and meeting people, among other things. Everything works together to make a great experience overall,” said Hasty.
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Hasty said that her cousin sparked the flame that inspired her to run for Miss SC State.
“He told me at church one day that I would be Miss SC State after I was named Miss Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School my senior year. He planted the seed, but I didn’t know it then. Being on campus and interacting with everyone watered that seed and I decided to run,” she said.
As an avid supporter of individual and collective wellness, Hasty chose a platform that is centered around mental health. She emphasizes the importance of good mental health in hopes that it would help boost the confidence and productivity of students. Hasty has had to overcome challenges of her own and wants other students to know that there is hope on the other side of adversity.
While planning to run for Miss SC State, she was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, which is a condition that causes the muscles on one side of the face to become weak or paralyzed. After the diagnosis, Hasty became reluctant to continue preparing for her Miss SC State campaign. She said that her mother’s support helped her overcome her fears, and described the relationship between her and her mother as loving and zealous.
After graduation, Hasty plans to attend medical school and become a doctor of osteopathic medicine, which is a distinct branch of medicine that emphasizes the interrelated unity of all systems in the body, each working with the other to heal. She is also considering joining the military.
Charles C. Patton serves as the sixth Mister SC State University. The senior physics major, with a concentration in optics and quantum mechanics, was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also grew up in Sumter, South Carolina. Patton already had ties to SC State, as many of his family members are graduates. He transferred from Morehouse College after visiting SC State’s campus and feeling a sense of belonging.
“The administration, faculty, staff and students seemed welcoming. They made me feel like they wanted me here and would do anything to help me succeed. It was a no-brainer once I visited,” said Patton.
He said initially, he was not going to vie for Mister SC State because he was not sure if the campus was ready for or wanted to have someone like him in that position. However, as time went on, he felt the need to push for the change of SC State’s narrative on and off campus.
“I felt I would bring something different and in-your-face while uplifting the community as a whole and making sure SC State was at the forefront of everything. I want to be a voice for people who feel that they don’t have one,” he said. "Being an openly queer male, I thought I’d receive a lot of backlash and was not sure that people were looking for someone like me to represent this school. Although my sexuality is a part of who I am, I do stand at the crossroad of many different identities - black, male, queer, spiritual, educated, et cetera. This intersectionality is something that so many people can relate to because we are not a monolith, but a sum of all of our experiences, and it is absolutely important to recognize this when doing the work we plan to do. "
In addition to the challenges of navigating what is deemed uncharted waters at SC State, Patton has had to endure his share of personal challenges.
“I suffered from depression, anxiety, and it was something I was hiding from. I was told to deal with it and not think about it. It wasn’t until I spoke with professionals about what I was going through that I was able to be honest about it. That’s why I’m so happy that Kayla is my queen because her platform is about mental health. I admire and respect her on a deeper level for that,” he said.
After graduation, he plans to earn a master’s degree in metaphysics and work with Microsoft. His long-term goals include owning a thriving, global nonprofit organization that is focused on uplifting and aiding the lives of marginalized people through health-care, education, the arts, restorative justice, social justice, financial stability, spirituality, beauty and more. He also aspires to own a production company. He loves photography and has a podcast on YouTube called “The RISE.”
The coronation of Miss and Mister SC State will be held on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. The 2019-20 Royal Court includes:
• Mister and Miss Senior: Demun Allen and Jaylen Ford
• Mister and Miss Junior: Herbert Smith and Ashley Hill
• Mister and Miss Sophomore: Jamie Gilmore and Richlyn Williams
• Mister and Miss Freshman: Aubrey Brown and T’Ajia Landrum