Mardi Gras King, Queen Exemplify UST Mission
The ideal Mardi Gras king and queen should embody the University’s mission to educate leaders of faith and character. With the crowning of C.J. Miller and Meredith Smith as king and queen, this year is no exception. Miller and Smith will be the faces of the student body during the 64th annual Mardi Gras Gala at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 4 at River Oaks Country Club.
Miller and Smith, who will graduate this May, are honored to be crowned king and queen and look forward to thanking the University of St. Thomas in one final way before pursuing their careers and more education.
Meredith Smith, Queen and Educator
Smith, an education major with a certification in early childhood through sixth grade, is well on her way to applying all she’s learned at UST to her student-teaching at Meadows Elementary School. As president emeritus for the UST chapter of the Association for Texas Professional Educators, Smith firmly believes that children need good educators to help build a foundation that will benefit their education for the rest of their lives.
A native Houstonian, Smith transferred from Texas State University in search of a more intellectually stimulating environment that could help her maximize her potential. As a student in the School of Education at UST, Smith found everything she was searching for and credits the school for preparing her to tackle student-teaching.
"I have wanted to be a teacher ever since I was five,” Smith said. “The School of Education has done a phenomenal job preparing me to be a teacher. I walked into student-teaching feeling so well-rounded, and I know I will walk into a classroom feeling confident.”
Smith plans to return to UST in the fall to participate in the off-campus Master of Education program.
C.J. Miller, King and Pre-Law Student
Miller, a political science major and general business minor, is a paragon of a leader of faith and character. He is active in several Catholic on-campus organizations, such as Campus Ministry, Knights of Columbus and Celts for Life, and holds leadership positions for several more including chairman of UST College Republicans, vice president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science Honor Society, and vice president of the Presidential Ambassadors on campus.
On top of all his extracurriculars, Miller is also a student in the Honors program, a recipient of the V. J. Guinan full tuition scholarship and works for the Thomas Aquinas Homeschool Co-Op program on campus, where he teaches American Government to high schoolers once a week. He is also headed to Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, in hopes of pursuing a career in energy law.
In spite of a busy day to day schedule, Miller relies on his spiritual life to get him through a hectic schedule.
"Academics have always been my priority, especially since I’m bound for Law school,” Miller said. “It is kind of hard and takes a lot of prayer and a lot of foresight into what my days are actually going to entail. But as long as I have time for daily Mass and daily rosary, it gives me a peace of mind and I can balance it all.”
Originally from Milton, Louisiana, Miller’s recognition as Mardi Gras King hits close to home and he looks forward to feeling like he’s home for an evening and celebrating Mardi Gras during the Gala.
“I’ve helped and volunteered for the Mardi Gras Gala in the past, last year as crew captain,” Miller said. “I have the blessing of being King this year, and I’m glad that this is one last way I can give back to the University before I graduate. I thank every one of [the benefactors] who donated their time, talent and treasure to the University of St. Thomas. They’ve really given me my future and my education and I have nothing but the best to say about my time here at UST.”
For more information on the Mardi Gras Gala, visit www.stthom.edu/mardigras