The Pipers Gap area of Carroll County found itself in the spotlight in 1979 when Kylene Barker was crowned Miss America. Now, 34 years later, the area could be reliving that magic moment.
Whether or not Pipers Gap steps back into the spotlight rests on the shoulders of Linda Hanks Anthony, who will be competing for the title of Ms. Senior America in Atlantic City in October. Anthony is the reigning Ms. Senior North Carolina.
Anthony, a 1967 graduate of Woodlawn High School, taught at Fairview Elementary School from 1973-77 before marrying Dennis Anthony and moving to Winston-Salem.
Anthony didn’t grow up yearning to wear a crown.
“I taught school for 38 years. My whole life was teaching elementary children,” she said.
However, after she retired, Anthony, at the behest of her husband, got involved in the senior activities in Davidson County. One of those was the nutrition sites that provide meals for seniors.
“We have five nutrition sites in Davidson County and I visited all of them at least three times a year. Every senior can get a free, hot meal every day. Plus, we have activities and classes,” said Anthony.
Because of her work with seniors, a group approached Anthony to compete in the Ms. Senior Davidson County pageant. She won that crown on June 19 of last year and advanced to the Ms. Senior North Carolina pageant, which she won on June 15 of this year.
Before deciding to compete in the Davidson County pageant, Anthony said she had to confer with a higher authority.
“I said I would have to pray about it. I don’t do anything without asking God first. I asked him to send me a sign and he did,” said Anthony, who feels that her years attending Oakland United Methodist Church, gave her the foundation that she stands on to this very day.
“God has blessed me very much in my life,” she added.
The Ms. Senior North Carolina pageant is a nonprofit organization that seeks to enhance the image of women who have reached the “Age of Elegance.” The winner is “the woman who best exemplifies the dignity, maturity and inner beauty of senior all Americans,” according to the pageant‘s mission statement.
Pageant contestants compete in three categories – interview, inner beauty, evening gown and talent. In the interview segment, each contestant has the opportunity to demonstrate her personality, which Anthony said was no problem for her.
“I think I have the gift of gab. Talking to people doesn’t make me nervous,” she said.
During the inner beauty segment, each contestant shares her personal philosophy of life. Anthony used the word life to illustrate her philosophy. “L is live every day trying to make a positive difference, I is invest in today’s youth, F is forgive and forget mistakes, and E is enjoy every day because it is a gift from God,” she said.
“This year, I really would like to get our seniors and young people together. We have a lot to offer, we’ve been there,” said Anthony.
The evening gown competition allows judges to see the contestants’ taste and style, and the talent segment allows contestants to show talent does not diminish with age. Anthony, who was the director of the Koinonia Singers, ages 13-21, for five years, sings and plays the piano for her talent. During the Ms. Senior North Carolina pageant she sang “At the Crossing.”
Anthony, the daughter of Joyce Hanks of Woodlawn and the late Jack Hanks, said although she began this journey at the behest of others, she is now in it to win it.
“We all want to win and I am very competitive, but at this stage of my life I want to make a positive difference every single day,” she said.