The fall semester is setting the stage for a new king and queen to take the lead on uplifting the university and community. With compelling platforms and a zeal for change, both Miss and Mister SC State 2019-20 received the highest number of votes from fellow students during the spring semester. Although they both admire and appreciate their beloved institution, the eloquent duo is eager to find new ways to enhance it.
Kayla Hasty, a senior majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry, is from Ridgeland, South Carolina. Serving as the 82nd Miss SC State University, she attends the university on a full-ride scholarship and considers choosing SC State the best decision she has ever made.
“My experience at SC State has groomed me into a better woman and functional citizen of society. I love the family atmosphere and meeting people, among other things. Everything works together to make a great experience overall,” said Hasty.
Hasty said that her cousin sparked the flame that inspired her to run for Miss SC State.
“He told me at church one day that I would be Miss SC State after I was named Miss Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School my senior year. He planted the seed, but I didn’t know it then. Being on campus and interacting with everyone watered that seed and I decided to run,” she said.
As an avid supporter of individual and collective wellness, Hasty chose a platform that is centered around mental health. She emphasizes the importance of good mental health in hopes that it would help boost the confidence and productivity of students. Hasty has had to overcome challenges of her own and wants other students to know that there is hope on the other side of adversity.
In the midst of planning to run for Miss SC State, she was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy, which is a condition that causes the muscles on one side of the face to become weak or paralyzed. After the diagnosis, Hasty became reluctant to continue preparing for her Miss SC State campaign. She said that her mother’s support helped her overcome her fears, and described the relationship between her and her mother as loving and zealous.
“I talk to my mom every day. When I need her, she’s bringing my sister and she’s coming to see me. During those tough battles, she told me that ‘You’ve been talking about this since your freshman year. You never know what God is taking you through to get you ready.’”
“I decided to put all my fears aside and just go for it,” said Hasty.
She said that in addition to her mother’s support, her family, friends and relationship with God also helped her overcome challenges. She decided to use life’s hurdles as motivation while hoping that her ability to overcome them would serve as inspiration to others.
“This position comes with so much power to fuel this campus and it presents the opportunity to change how people think and look at things,” she said.
“I believe the campus is not reaching the level we want it to reach because individually, we all have our own problems. I love engaging when I’m my best self. When I’m going through something, I don’t want to be bothered. If you continue to not talk about something, it is going to fester and consume you. I’ve suffered from depression. I’ve wanted to give up and felt alone, so I know other people are going through it. It’s time to talk about uncomfortable things so that we can heal and grow.”
Hasty has a plan to strengthen the community on and off campus.
She is working to create a space for students to talk about mental health by having forums about different types of mental health issues and how to find solutions. She is also working to create a segment called “Adulting 101,” which will focus on financial education for students- how to purchase a house, banking, investments, paying for college, student loans and life after college. She is eager to bring the campus community and off-campus community together by growing relationships with more elementary schools and high schools, even those outside of Orangeburg.
Bringing next-door neighbor, Claflin University, and SC State together is another goal of Hasty’s. She would like for women from Claflin and SC State to empower each other.
“I want to bridge the gap and talk about empowerment and have women from SC State partner with women from Claflin. People try to divide us, but we’re all striving for the same goals and can uplift each other. I think partnering more with Claflin would benefit both schools,” she said.
Additionally, she plans to give back to the elderly, as her grandmothers and great grandmothers have greatly impacted her life and paved the way.
The Jasper county native has been making strides to impact society well before her reign as Miss SC State. For the last three years, she has spent the summer conducting research, entitled “Analyzing the Role of High Pro-Inflammatory Diets and Childhood Obesity in the Risk of Adult Carcinogenesis in South Carolinian Children.” The research aims to reveal the link between high inflammatory diets and cancer in hopes of promoting healthier lifestyles among people. Hasty has also completed research on Huntington’s disease and how socioeconomic status affects health.
Furthering her mission to empower and elevate those around her, Hasty has helped less fortunate young women in the community acquire prom dresses. She currently serves as a member of the Honors College, Sisters in Stem, Biological and Physical Sciences Ambassadors Program, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and is a Student Orientation Leader. She previously served in Student Media.
She enjoys watching sports, playing sports, reading, listening to music and watching Netflix and Hulu.
After graduation, Hasty plans to attend medical school and become a doctor of osteopathic medicine, which is a distinct branch of medicine that emphasizes the interrelated unity of all systems in the body, each working with the other to heal. She is also considering joining the military.
“I just want to be the best version of myself for my community. SC State has shown me the good, the bad and the ugly, gave me wonderful sisters and a wonderful foundation. My department has prepared me to speak up and be a fully functioning, advocating adult,” she said. “I want everyone to have the courage to see what’s on the other side of a challenge. If you stop, you’ll never know what it’s like to win.”
Charles C. Patton serves as the sixth Mister SC State University. The senior physics major, with a concentration in optics and quantum mechanics, was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. He also grew up in Sumter, South Carolina. Patton already had ties to SC State, as many of his family members are graduates. He transferred from Morehouse College after visiting SC State’s campus and feeling a sense of belonging.
“The administration, faculty, staff and students seemed welcoming. They made me feel like they wanted me here and would do anything to help me succeed. It was a no-brainer once I visited,” said Patton.
He said initially, he was not going to vie for Mister SC State because he was not sure if the campus was ready for or wanted to have someone like him in that position. However, as time went on, he felt the need to push for the change of SC State’s narrative on and off campus.
“I felt I would bring something different and in-your-face while uplifting the community as a whole and making sure SC State was at the forefront of everything. I want to be a voice for people who feel that they don’t have one,” he said. “Being an openly queer male, I thought I’d receive a lot of backlash and was not sure that people were looking for someone like me to represent this school. Although my sexuality is a part of who I am, I do stand at the crossroad of many different identities – black, male, queer, spiritual, educated, et cetera. This intersectionality is something that so many people can relate to because we are not a monolith, but a sum of all of our experiences, and it is absolutely important to recognize this when doing the work we plan to do. “
In addition to the challenges of navigating what is deemed uncharted waters at SC State, Patton has had to endure his share of personal challenges.
“I suffered from depression, anxiety, and it was something I was hiding from. I was told to deal with it and not think about it. It wasn’t until I spoke with professionals about what I was going through that I was able to be honest about it. That’s why I’m so happy that Kayla is my queen because her platform is about mental health. I admire and respect her on a deeper level for that,” he said.
Patton said that SC State gave him a sense of family that outside of his biological family, he had never felt. The university has given him opportunities that reach far beyond him as an individual, and by the same token, helped him overcome tough times.
“I wouldn’t have been able to build a network of people from several industries to foster a pipeline from SC State to these companies. It’s crazy to me that people outside of SC State think that it’s not a school that should be on their radar. It turns my gears. It [the university] has done so much for me, my family, alumni and people within SC State. Since being here, I’ve become more confident in myself than I have ever been,” he said.
Patton emphasized that he did not take on the role of Mister SC State for his own benefit. His hope is that others can see themselves in him and achieve their goals regardless of what they look like, who they love and what they are passionate about.
His platform is called “Let’s RAGE,” which stands for: Radical Academics for Generational Enlightenment. The platform exemplifies the urgency needed to take action and embrace positive change for generations to follow.
“I wanted to make sure we had a level of waking up on campus and in the surrounding communities- to expand and have different perspectives.”
Patton’s platform includes several initiatives: A proactive tutoring program, career workshops and a Crown Forum, which is a weekly forum with guests (alumni, community leaders and politicians) that aims to give students a new perspective on world views. He also plans to implement a Shadow Day program, which will allow young students in the community to spend the day on SC State’s campus. In addition, he plans to visit nursing homes, homeless shelters and jails for community service. His “Doggy Bag” initiative aims to partner with Sodexo to feed less fortunate children.
The new Mister SC State has already started engaging fellow students by introducing a new tradition called “For Whom, the Dog Remains True.” The program takes place during New Student Orientation and is designed to allow an interactive and meaningful introduction into the history of SC State University through engaging and educational activities.
Not long after transferring to SC State, Patton created the organization, Safe Space, which supports the LGBTQ community on campus by fostering a sense of belonging. He also serves as a member of the Honors College, (former Mister Honors College) NAACP campus chapter and is a Clyburn Scholar and Oprah Winfrey Scholar. During this past summer, he was an intern with Microsoft as a shared services and engineering data analyst. He also interned with Microsoft during the summer of 2018.
After graduation, he plans to earn a master’s degree in metaphysics and work with Microsoft. His long-term goals include owning a thriving, global nonprofit organization that is focused on uplifting and aiding the lives of marginalized people through health-care, education, the arts, restorative justice, social justice, financial stability, spirituality, beauty and more. He also aspires to own a production company. He loves photography and has a podcast on YouTube called “The RISE.”
Patton’s greatest inspiration in life is to be happy and grateful.
“I’m still a work in progress and I don’t have all the answers. I’m moving through life like everyone else, but one thing I know for certain is, that if you live in gratitude and fight to be happy, there’s nothing you can’t do,” he said. “Be true to your authentic self and never betray that. We all have an inner voice. If we take the time to listen to that voice, all of the answers are right there within you.”
The Coronation of Miss and Mister SC State will be held on Sunday, October 13, at 6 p.m. in the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. The 2019-20 Royal Court includes:
Mister and Miss Senior: Demun Allen and Jaylen Ford
Mister and Miss Junior: Herbert Smith and Ashley Hill
Mister and Miss Sophomore: Jamie Gilmore and Richlyn Williams
Mister and Miss Freshman: Aubrey Brown and T’Ajia Landrum