by Glynnis D. Pleasant
Five days before an interest meeting for Miss JSU candidates, Comelia L. Walker decided to compete for the crown with nothing but a willingness to “complete the journey with God.” Today, she’s the university’s 78th queen.
She calls her April 7 crowning her most memorable day. “It was amazing to know that others saw the potential I had.”
Now, she’s redefining the expectations some may have of those vying for such a prominent leadership role. Walker, from Canton, Mississippi, is pursuing a double major in mathematics and mathematics education.
She’s an aspiring educator who plans to share her love for math by becoming a secondary Algebra I instructor.
“My objective is to improve the results of state testing and reach students on a more personal level. My ultimate goal is to become a superintendent so that I can influence and motivate thousands of students and their parents,” Walker said.
As a freshman, she dreamed of becoming Miss JSU but later dismissed the idea. Eventually, she got involved in other activities such as Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. But the pressure to become queen resurfaced mainly because peers depended on her after she had spoken about it for so long. She didn’t want to let them down.
Even with the support, she prepared to hear reasons why she shouldn’t become Miss JSU, especially since “I didn’t think I always spoke properly, among other things.” Despite that, she treasured JSU. So, she pressed forward.
“To those who don’t fit a particular stereotype, don’t let society define you. Don’t care about what people say about you. Don’t allow it to be degrading to you,” Walker said.
Asked what she’d like her legacy to be, Walker said, “I want to be remembered as relatable, presentable and available.” She said she believes there’s always enough time in a day to make room for the next person.
She also reveals that the pressure of being queen is not as burdensome as the role she performs in her Canton home, where she’s the “parent” to her younger sisters. In the past, she’s spoken about her parents’ incarceration and the strong support from her grandmother. Yet, she declares, “I thank God that I don’t look like what I’ve been through.”
On campus, she wants to complete a Growth Garden filled with a circle of flowers and shaped like a crown. It would serve as a source of peace and “a place to let go of hurt. As a student, there are a lot of things to stress about. I believe this garden will comfort them,” Walker said.