OU former student dances her way to the crown


Courtesy of Cathy Roe

OU alum Cathy Roe is crowned 2019 Ms. Senior Michigan on July 17 at the Rochester Older Persons Commission (OPC).

Farmington native Cathy Roe was recently crowned 2019’s Ms. Senior Michigan.

Roe, 66, claimed the title on July 17 during the pageant, which was held at the Rochester Older Persons Commission (OPC).

However, the pageant was far more than just a competition, Roe said.

“It is a camaraderie of like-minded, very dynamic women,” she said. “It was more like a very, very welcoming support group.”

Roe’s journey to the crown started years ago when she attended Oakland University.

Originally attending OU as an English major, her life changed when she took a dance class for a physical education (PE) credit. 

“I chose Oakland because it was close by and I could commute,” she said. “Little did I know that all I was going to have to do was meet one person: my dance instructor, Carol Halsted.”

The late Carol Halsted, a dance professor at OU at the time, told her she had real potential as a dancer and worked with Roe to help her become a dance major. 

Roe soon transferred to Western Michigan University, where she began her journey as a dance major with a degree in dance education. 

“I don’t know if Carol knows what happened or how important she was in my entire life,” she said. “Boy, I would sure like her to know what she meant to me in my life.” 

After graduating, she decided to complete her student teaching in Hawaii. She ended up staying in Hawaii, living there for 10 years and becoming the dance director for the University of Hawaii.

Roe, however, became homesick and moved back to Michigan to be with her family.

While in Michigan, she continued her life in dance, working with a dance competition and starting up a business where she coaches dancers online.

When she received a submission from a 72-year-old woman who was going to be competing as Ms. Senior Washington in the Ms. Senior America pageant, she decided to see if there was a Ms. Senior Michigan.

After finding out more about the pageant, Roe decided to enter.

“I told my sister, and at first we were just kind of laughing about it, just kind of fantasizing, ‘Oh I wonder what that would be like,’” she said. “Then I said, ‘You know, Cindy, I think I’m going to do it.’”

From then on, she committed herself to the pageant, making the 10-hour round trip multiple times for rehearsals and the pageant itself.

Roe said the pageant was delightful and she has made many new friends during the short time the ladies were together, many of whom she has stayed in contact with. 

“It’s a chance to make new friends in a period of your life when you don’t have things like school or college or your career,” she said. “It’s just an opportunity to collaborate, to have a relationship and just have fun with people that are like my classmates.”

Roe said, though she didn’t have to, she decided to use her platform to promote the magnificence of living in a healthy body.

“My plan is to just make people happy and feel good being in their body,” she said. “When you’re moving and you love the music, whatever it is, there’s nothing more fun than that to me.”

Roe will represent the state in the Ms. Senior America pageant, which will take place this October in Atlantic City, New Jersey.