University of Central Arkansas junior Megan McAfee was selected as Miss UCA 2018 during the annual pageant Friday at Reynolds Performance Hall.

McAfee, the daughter of David and Sheryl of Gravette, was sponsored by the Delta Zeta Sorority.

"Being Miss UCA has been a dream of mine since the day I stepped on campus," she said. "Last night was nothing short of that dream."

McAfee said she is thankful for the opportunity to represent a university that continually strives to celebrate its students and their successes.

"The Miss UCA pageant is phenomenal," she said. "The Reynolds Performance Hall is beautiful, the staff was extremely helpful and the Miss UCA Board of Directors and Alpha Sigma Alpha go above and beyond to make the experience special for every contestant," McAfee said.

The health service administration major said she is excited to begin her reign, to make many appearances as Miss UCA 2018 and to serve as an ambassador to a university she loves so much.

McAfee was among eight other contestants competing for the title Friday night.

Each went through five phases of the competition including presentation and community achievement in private interview, onstage questions, artistic expression in talent — McAfee played an instrumental "Turning Tables," by Adele on the piano for hers — lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit and presence and poise in evening wear.

As winner, McAfee received a $6,000 scholarship to UCA and more than $9,000 in other awards and prizes.

Miss Arkansas 2017 Maggie Benton and Miss UCA 2017 Kelli Collins were present for the ceremony.

"Crowing Megan McAfee was a dream," Collins said. "I have known Megan for quite a long time and I have worked with her through many organizations on campus. I know she will make huge strides as Miss UCA. She is intelligent, beautiful, diligent and hard working. I know the job was left in good hands."

During her final walk as Miss UCA, Collins said she was focusing on soaking in every possible moment.

"I accomplished and exceeded all of my goals this year in my 89 appearances throughout the state of Arkansas and I was grateful for my moments of reflection," she said.

Collins said being back on stage and being there for the pageant was both exhilarating and heartbreaking.

"While I was sad to give up the most amazing job I have ever had, I knew that any of the women vying for the title of Miss UCA would do a terrific job," she said.

The pageant is sponsored every year by Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority. This year’s chairperson was Reagan Heffley.

"I believe Megan will do a fantastic job with Miss UCA," Heffley said. "She performed wonderfully on the stage [Friday night] and she is also a strong leader around campus. Alpha Sigma Alpha loves getting to support Miss UCA and we can’t wait to see the things she will achieve this year."