VICKSBURG, Miss. -- On her fifth try, Miss Dixie Marie Wicks became 2012's Miss Mississippi.
The 22-year-old Ocean Springs native was third runner-up last year.
As the wearer of the state's crown, Wicks won a $10,000 scholarship and will represent the state in the Miss America pageant.
"I truly believe it was the Lord," she said. "I will jump for joy, hug my family, eat a breakfast of grits, eggs and toast and praise the Lord for all he's done."
An art lover who enjoys playing the piano, speaking French and writing, the 2012 University of Mississippi international studies graduate plans to promote her platform, eyeSTAR, an acronym for EyeSight to All Regions.
"I have chosen to commit myself to the erasure of preventable blindness by working with the Lions Club and its vision-based initiatives," she said.
"I was in shock," said father Tom Wicks upon his daughter's win. "I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a dream."
"I was overwhelmed," said mother Caroline Wicks. "I've always said be your best, and let God do the rest."
Wicks played Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata on the piano during the talent portion of the competition.
During pageant questioning, she was asked how she would promote Children's Miracle Network as Miss Mississippi.
She replied that she would hold a poster contest for the children of the state and auction off the posters to raise money for the cause, which helps children's hospitals.
An avid runner who enjoys jogs across the Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bridge, Wicks wore a black monokini in the swimsuit portion of the pageant.
She was named to the Ole Miss Hall of Fame during her time at UM, where she also majored in French with a minor in chemistry.
Wicks enjoys keeping a quote journal and calls faith "an indispensable component of my life."
Coming in as first runner-up is Miss Spirit of the South Jasmine Murray, a former American Idol finalist.
Second runner-up is Miss Historic South Jessica Terrill, and third runner-up is Miss Madison County Chassidy Sumler. Fourth runner-up is Miss Natchez Trace Chelsea Rick.
Rounding out the field of 10 semifinalists were Miss Midsouth Caroline Connerly, Miss University of Southern Mississippi Grace Claire Cordes, Miss Heartland Ann Beth Higginbotham, Miss Mississippi State University Stephanie Stanford and Miss West Central Breanne Ponder.
Preliminary winners last week were Swimsuit & Fitness, Miss Delta Blues Ashley Hamby, Rick and Ponder; and Talent, Murray, Cordes and Stanford.
First runner-up Murray's platform is mentoring young girls through a program called "13 Going on 30."
Second runner-up Terrill's platform is First Book.
Third runner-up Sumler's platform focuses on fighting childhood obesity, and fourth runner-up Rick's platform is, HUNGER, an acronym for Helping the Undernourished in our Nation Gain Eating Resources.
As the Miss Mississippi winner, Wicks will represent the state in the Miss America competition in January and will be a goodwill ambassador inside and outside the state's borders.