Miss Tech prepares for Miss Louisiana, following footsteps of others

Jeanne Dickson Patterson, left, was crowned Miss Louisiana Tech in 1989 by Jill Hightower Smith, Miss Tech 1988, and Patterson’s daughter, Chanley, who was crowned Miss Tech this year, was crowned by Smith’s daughter, Jordan

By Judith Roberts

When Chanley Patterson received the crown for Miss Louisiana Tech earlier this year, she wasn’t the first, second, or even third daughter of a former Miss Tech to receive the coveted prize. Patterson is fourth in a line of alumni who went on to compete in Miss Louisiana, just as Patterson will do this June. 

Other mothers and daughters who won the crown were Nancy Futrell Berlin (1973) and daughter Natalie Berlin (2006), Joan Marie Burt Edinger (1975) and daughter Eva Edinger Johnston (2015), and Jill Hightower Smith (1988) and daughter Jordan Smith (2022). Patterson follows in the footsteps of her mother, Jeanne Dickson Patterson (1989), who is a music teacher at Cedar Creek School. 

“Sharing this title with my mother has been a bonding moment I think the both us of have dreamed of for a long time,” Chanley Patterson said. “Louisiana Tech loyalty runs deep in the Patterson household.” 

Her mother said this has been a long-held dream of hers. 

“From the day I found out she was a girl, I knew I would want her to be Miss Louisiana Tech one day,” Patterson, who is married to Charles, a Louisiana Tech math faculty member, said. “Charles and I both graduated from Louisiana Tech and love our university. We made our home here in Ruston, and we are Bulldogs to the core.” 

Joan Edinger said she, too, was excited when Eva wanted to compete for the title like her mother. 

“I knew it would be an opportunity of a lifetime if she was crowned, and I knew she would put her heart and soul into preparing,” Joan Edinger said. “She has always been a competitor and has danced on stage since an early age. I was ecstatic when Eva was crowned Miss Tech, and I felt such a sense of nostalgia. After all, it had been 40 years since I was crowned, and now we would share this title together.” 

Eva Edinger said the Miss Tech pageant was her first pageant, and her mother was a huge factor in her deciding to compete. 

“I had tremendous support from family and friends, I had a longing and drive to be more involved and invest in Tech, and ultimately I set out to follow in my mom’s footsteps as Miss Tech,” she said. “Over the years, I’ve heard countless friends and acquaintances share how my mom served our university with kindness, grace and class. She’s always encouraged me in every avenue of life, and it’s so special to share the Miss Tech title together.” 

Jill Hightower Smith said seeing Chanley crowned was a special moment for her.

“I was thrilled because 34 years earlier, I got to crown her mother,” she said. “It was definitely a full circle moment. We had always thought how special this could be. Truly amazing with two families that bleed Tech red and blue for sure.”

Jordan Smith said having this bond with Chanley and the other mother-daughter Miss Tech duos was special and sentimental.

“Knowing Chanley and I hold a similar love for this university, I was ecstatic when her name was called as my successor,” she said. “Stepping into the title we share with our mothers is something so incredible and special; it’s hard to put words to the feeling. I’m so glad to share this mother-daughter experience not only with Chanley, but with Eva and Natalie as well.”

Nancy and Natalie Berlin were the first mother/daughter duo to earn the Miss Tech title. Nancy Berlin said she was elated when she found out her daughter wanted to compete. 

“Her dad and I were over the moon (when she won),” Nancy Berlin said. “She had worked hard, so we felt like she did deserve the honor, and we also knew she would love representing Tech as Miss Tech.” 

Natalie said she had dreamed of being Miss Tech since she was a little girl and is excited for Chanley and Jeanne Patterson to share the experience. 

“I would look through my mom’s college yearbooks to see all the beautiful pictures and I vowed that I would compete in the Miss Tech pageant every year I could,” she said. “I was so excited for Chanley because I remember her as a little girl attending the Miss Tech pageants and Miss Louisiana pageants when I competed.” 

As Chanley Patterson gets ready for the Miss Louisiana pageant in June, she said this whole experience has been a blessing. 

“I always knew I wanted to be Miss Tech one day; it was just a matter of when God would give me this opportunity,” she said. “I greatly look forward to representing my university this year, and I hope to give back even an ounce of what Louisiana Tech has given me.”