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Released: 04/30/1998

<p> Brenda Gail Bethea, of Alexandria, was named Ms. Louisiana State University at Alexandria 1998 at a reception attended by family and friends held April 16, 1998. </p><p> Ms. Bethea received a scholarship for the 1998-99 academic year and will represent the university at numerous campus and community functions throughout the year. </p><p> Ms. Bethea is a freshman majoring in elementary education. She is vice president for the student organization, Aspiring Professional Teachers. Ms. Bethea is the daughter of James E. Lucas of Alexandria and the late Mrs. Dorothy F. Lucas. She is married and has one son. Her hobbies include gardening, interior decorating and working in her church in Sunday School and with the choir. </p><p> Instead of the usual Ms. LSUA pageant production where participants are judged on evening wear, sports wear, interview and a platform issue, the format was changed this year by the Ms. LSUA committee. The contestants were only required to participate in an interview session with a panel of judges from the community. Judging criteria included poise, appearance, personality, extracurricular activities, intellect, knowledge of LSUA, and knowledge of student-related issues. </p><p> The selection process was changed from the traditional pageant because the committee felt it was not meeting the needs of LSUA&acute;s unique student population. Last year, the title was changed from Miss LSUA to Ms. LSUA to better reflect the age and marital status of the student population. Due to the changing interests of the students, the committee will continue to review and broaden its boundaries as necessary. </p><p> Other contestants for Ms. LSUA were first runner-up Amy-Lynn M. Barrere, a freshman from Hessmer, and Kimberly Faith Bookter, a freshman from Alexandria. </p><p>