A crowning achievement

Sylvia Holland
Sylvia Holland

Sylvia Holland didn't expect to get too far when she entered the race for Ms. Alabama Nursing Home. 

First, she was crowned Ms. Woodhaven Manor, queen of the Demopolis, AL, nursing home where she's lived since last year. To her surprise, she then placed in the top 10 in a qualifier for the state competition. Holland ultimately received the top crown at the state pageant in late July, in front of a crowd of nearly 400. Not bad for her first pageant.

“Isn't that something, [being] 87 and getting in a pageant?” Holland said with a laugh.

Holland moved to Woodhaven Manor after becoming ill, but has bounced back — and claimed the title of Woodhaven's resident crafting queen, in addition to her pageant bling. She's known for her watercolor paintings, flowers made from coffee filters and cardboard dollhouses that she gives away to kids in the community.

Over the next year, Holland will travel as a spokeswoman for the Alabama Nursing Home Association, sharing her positive experiences. 

As she begins her Ms. Alabama Nursing Home duties, Holland keeps in mind a question posed at the pageant: If you could give the world one present, what would it be?

“Love,” Holland answered. “Because if you have love, you have peace, you have joy and you have happiness.”