William M. Akin IV ~ DSU Connect Student Editor
What is the definition of a “Queen”? A ruler, a political powerhouse, a helping hand to the side of her king?
Not exactly. A queen is a person who is independently equip to succeed in her position. A queen is a person who is relatable and trustworthy, while also being passionately influential to others around her. A queen is ambitious and uplifting while expressing a dynamically eloquent style of poise and grace. A queen is a representation of every single Miss Delaware State University that has come before our time and those to come.
Jewel J. Phillips, the next Miss Delaware State University, is a perfect example of who and what a queen should look like, act like, and be. Jewel is a rising senior majoring in Mass Communications with a minor in Law Studies and hails from the one and only Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Jewel’s go-getter mindset, self-confidence, experience in student government positions, and the ability to surround herself with the right network of people eventually propelled her to live out her dream.
I had the opportunity to interview Jewel and asked her what her initial reaction was when she finally heard her name called to become the 65th Miss Delaware State University. “I was on cloud nine! But I also felt calm because I had already envisioned that experience before it happened… the reality had to catch up with where my thoughts were… I was just so grateful that it finally came true!”
Jewel recently ran on her platform D.N.A. (Delaware State Nationally Advancing) which represented raising the bar of expectations for DSU students, uplifting the campus core values, and creating a bridge for others to cultivate their own skills and roles in the community. Having Freshman Class President (2018-19) and Miss Sophomore Class (2019-20) under her belt, Jewel feels she has the knowledge, professionalism, and understanding of what it takes to
be a successful queen of our very own Delaware State University.
Although Jewel will soon show us all her distinctive and unique skillset as Miss DSU, she is not the only one in her family to have had the honor of this distinguished position. Her mother, Ms. Kimberly D. Deal, Esq. (formally “Phillips”), an attorney in New Jersey, was in fact the 30th Miss Delaware State University (1986-87).
Before and during Ms. Deal’s time in the DSU community, she had also taken part in several student government positions and experiences that assisted in her role as Miss Delaware State. She had been the queen of her high school, Edison High School, in her hometown of Philadelphia, PA. She ran and won Miss New Dimensions Model when she entered onto the university, ran for Miss Sophomore Class, and won out that position as well. “There is some correlation with Miss Sophomore Class and Miss Delaware State… Not saying all Miss Sophomores’ win Miss DSU, but if you have that in your resume… you might have better chances” Ms. Deal stated in our interview about both her and her daughter Jewel being Miss Sophomore Class at DSU.
Even though modern-day social media outlets and the internet were still on the come up, Ms. Deal managed to produce and display creative flyers to post all around the DSU campus during her own campaign. From being in close connections with Dr. Luna I. Mishoe, to sharing her campaign vision with the football team, band, and other DSU students, Ms. Kimberly Deal eventually was elected to represent her beloved HBCU as Miss Delaware State University. Her main message all throughout the strive for Miss Delaware State was inclusion and unity. Just as Jewel wants to see the university grow, expand, and develop, so did her mom.
Back when DSU was still under the name DSC (Delaware State College), Ms. Deal and her fellow students all envisioned and saw Delaware State College becoming a university someday soon. Since the changing of our school’s name and many other advances DSU has made since then, Jewel and her fellow classmates can now aspire to pay it forward, visualize, and seek something greater for the next generation of DSU students.
Having someone in your family who has experienced the same position you see yourself in could be intimidating to some. Some might say that they cannot live up to the “expectation” of their past. But Ms. Deal made it clear to Jewel that she wanted her to pursue her own path, all while she instilled in her the tools to succeed in anything she does.
“I never told Jewel to be exactly like me or even to run for Miss Delaware State… I told her to never say no to herself because you’re going to have people who are going to try and stand in your way, don’t want to see you shine, and to dim your light… I tried to always lead by example and show her what it means to be a leader, God fearing, and a responsible young lady.”
Jewel has considerately shown through her work ethic and her hard-working persona that she can carry the “Miss DSU” title that runs in her family with class and with pride.
Jewel expressed that “…being a family legacy is extremely important to me because I was always taught the value of generational wealth… I knew by going to my mom’s alma mater that I would have numerous networking connections and I would have her experiences… my whole platform has been about taking what you learn from the past so you can be better in the future… since my mom was a queen, that means I’m a queen. Since I am a black woman, that means all black women are queens…”
With all the tools from her mother and former Miss Delaware State, to now having and gaining her own new experiences, Jewel is more than ready to lead our distinguished and prestigious university. Jewel during her upcoming reign as the 65th Miss Delaware State University for the 2021-2022 academic school year will continue to shine her light and to manifest her mission of transformation and greatness.
“Although this is my turn to reign, I always want to take the consideration and notable words of the alumni… any alumni or former Kings and Queens that are reading this and want to reach out and give me some advice in helping me move forward, I would really appreciate that. I’m always open to talking with any DSU Hornets, family, and the HBCU community… I am so very blessed and excited for this upcoming year!”
Jewel Phillips, alongside her mother, showcase what true Black excellence should resemble in today’s black culture and in our society