Skip to main content

Murray Journal

Looking back on Miss Murray’s 2023 reign

Jun 04, 2024 01:33PM ● By Bailey Chism

Dakota King spreads her Kindness Chain to Woodstock Elementary School students. (Photo courtesy of Dakota King)

Dakota King, a lifelong resident of Murray, is preparing to pass the crown onto the next Miss Murray. 

The Miss Murray title recognized individuals for their dedications and contributions to the community. As Miss Murray 2023, King was expected to represent the community in various ways throughout the year. Her background in dance and education played a big role in her time as Miss Murray. 

King was inspired to compete for Miss Murray by her high school dance teacher and then director of Miss Murray, Leesa Lloyd. 

“Through the Miss Murray Organization, she taught me how to be unapologetically myself, grow from my mistakes, and see potential in others,” King said. 

King first competed for the title of Miss Murray in 2020, and though she didn’t win, she was inspired by the growth that she experienced throughout the process. Before Lloyd passed away in May 2022, King promised her she would compete again, and in 2023, she was crowned Miss Murray. 

“I now wear this title and crown in honor of her legacy,” she said. 

King had two goals when she was crowned Miss Murray: to share her community service initiative and become visible as Miss Murray. Her initiative, the Kindness Chain, was meant to increase joy and generosity through simple acts of kindness. 

“I successfully shared this initiative through social media posts and school kindness chains,” King said. 

King spent five weeks with Woodstock Elementary School in September, working on a kindness chain with 25 classes. Each week, students wrote a kindness they completed on a strip of paper and connected their chain links. At the end of the month, King collected the chains each class had created and hung them around the school as a “physical representation that kindness holds us together as a community.” 

Her second goal was to make Miss Murray visible. 

“There is a misconception that Miss Murray is just a pretty face with a sparkly crown but it is more than that,” she said. 

She said it’s a professional development program for women to enact service and receive scholarships that go toward their education. King educated Murray City on the role of Miss Murray through attending events and speaking with Murray residents. 

King said she learned a lot about herself through her time as Miss Murray. It changed how she did things and how she let others help instead of tackling things on her own. 

“For most of my life, I tried to complete tasks and responsibilities independently without the help of others,” she said. “I thought it was more impressive and efficient that way. Miss Murray taught me the opposite. Efficiency and success effectively happen when you work together. I learned to utilize networking, inclusion, and collaboration and it not only made my year successful but fulfilling.”

At the end of her reign, she hopes that Murray residents get to know the next Miss Murray and what her community service initiative offers the community. 

“These community service initiatives can truly make a positive impact,” she said. “She cannot make a difference alone though. Making a positive difference will require your open mind and participation.”

To the next Miss Murray, King says to “take the title and run with it.” She took advantage of any opportunity that came her way and through that, she got to know and love so many people in Murray. 

“I don’t regret one second of it,” King said. “It is a very challenging and demanding role but I promise you, if you give it your very best, you won’t regret it.”

As she moves on from Miss Murray, King said she’s looking forward to utilizing the skills she gained from the program. 

“My experiences have improved my skills in networking, collaboration, public speaking, and project building,” King said. “These skills will benefit me in becoming a well-spoken, professional, and creative secondary dance educator which is my ultimate career goal.” λ