The First Miss Dora High 1953

Margene Savage Ellis, the first Miss Dora High
with all contestants of the 1953 Pageant

This year the Miss Dora High contest celebrates its 50th year. The contest is unlike most other high school contests in that it takes not only beauty and brains, but talent to win the coveted honor. Margene Savage was a senior at Dora High School in 1953 and competed against eighteen other girls to win. Mrs. Josephine Andrews was the sponsor for the pageant.

Margene says the pageant has kept true to its roots in that all contestants do a beauty walk and talent. She was a singer in the pageant but she does not recall the song she sang to win the title. When asked if she felt winning the pageant changed the way others viewed her, she said that she did not believe that it did.

What was the experience like? “It was wonderful,” she recalls. “It was totally unexpected I was ecstatic”. She said that the Miss Dora High was the first and only pageant that she ever entered.

Margene Married Paul Ellis and they live in Dora. She says she held a number of jobs in her career and in later years she cared for her elderly mother.

Margene and Paul attended the Dora High School Reunion recently and she was thrilled at the turnout. She said that she worked as an officer for the alumni association for several terms and felt like it was time to let others have their chance with the organization.

Margene asked the same question as several others who attended the reunion: why didn’t more of the local people show up for the reunion. Alumni traveled from around the country to attend and people who live close enough to walk did not come.

From left to right Peggy Kirkpatrick, Mary Ratliff, Jo Ruth Riley, Martha Jane Yeilding, Joanne Sprigle, Carol Hood, Gene May, Evelyn Sullivan (2nd runner up) Margene Savage (MDH), Shirley Jarman (3rd runner up), Lynn May, Betty Jo Tucker, Betty Gray, Betty Carol Lee, Linda Jones, (unsure of name), Laneda Reynolds, Dorris Sargent.

Potential date conflicts:

The following was also posted shortly after referencing another “1953 Miss Dora High” – If you can assist in providing clarifying information, please let us know in the comments!

Shirley Jarman Brymer

Shirley Faye Jarman Brymer was Miss Dora High in 1953. She has been a supporter of the Miss Dora High pageant over the years. Mrs. Josephine Andrews, the originator of the pageant and Mrs. Brymer were very close friends. She has attended many of the Miss Dora High pageants through the years and she, along with her husband Dr. Jack Brymer judged the event in 1973. Mrs. Brymer attended the pageant this year which marked the 50th anniversary of her walk with the crown. “I can hardly believe that all these years have passed and the pageant continues,” she says. “It has become so professional. I carried my trophy that was approximately 10 inches, now they are huge and so beautiful,” she explains.
After leaving Dora, Shirley attended Birmingham Business College and got her Secretarial Degree.
She later went to, Samford University where she received a Certificate in Church Leadership. She went back to Samford and got a Nursing degree.

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