Panola well represented for Miss Hospitality title

Published 1:03 pm Thursday, June 18, 2020

Andrea Berryhill was nominated by the Batesville Woman’s Club to represent Panola County in the state Miss Hospitality competition this week. (Courtesy of Catherine Jefcoat)


Panola County’s Miss Hospitality Andrea Berryhill is competing this week for the state title, beginning Tuesday and Wednesday with judges’ interviews and promotional efforts for Batesville and all of the county.

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Berryhill was nominated by the Batesville Woman’s Club, and has worked for months to prepare for this week’s competition.

The 2019 graduate of South Panola High School is a sophomore elementary education student at Mississippi State University, and hopes to return to her hometown to teach in the future.

It was at college that Berryhill said she really began to see the need to promote her home county.

“I realized that a lot of people did not know about Batesville and Panola County. All people knew about was Oxford,” she said. “I wanted a way to let them know that Batesville and our other towns has so much to offer. I want people to know that we are a good town that’s quiet, but has a lot going on, too.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s competition has a different look, but is no less rigid for the participants. Young women from across the state began a series of online interviews Tuesday that included in-depth questions from the regular-scheduled judges.

On Wednesday the participants presented a 90-second commercial about the area of the state they are representing. Berryhill said the commercial was fun to make, but she also believes that it positively promotes Panola County and will make an impression on the judges.

For another local touch, Berryhill wore a specially-designed T-shirt highlighting Panola County during the interview process. The shirt was designed by Gintzi Cole, owner of Gintzi Graphics in Batesville.

Berryhill is the daughter of Andy and Susan Berryhill and a member of the Batesville Church of Christ. She has been involved with numerous community events and charities for many years.

After the interviews and promotional videos are reviewed by the panel of judges, they will choose a top 10 list. Those women will advance to the final portion of the Miss Hospitality competition, currently scheduled for July 17-18 in Hattiesburg.

Organizers have plans for the contestants and their families to attend the top 10 phase in person, but if pandemic conditions do not allow, judges will continue to evaluate with online options.