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Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

KMLF Queen Morgan Grace Warren Shines in Classroom

2022 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Queen Morgan Grace Warren (Photo by Jamie H. Vaught)

By Jamie H. Vaught

If you look at Morgan Grace Warren’s academic credentials, she definitely is a classroom star.

Warren, who is the reigning queen of the 2022 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival in Pineville, recently graduated from Union College with a bachelor’s degree in biology, earning a near perfect grade-point-average of 3.89. While at Union, she received a couple of prestigious honors – 2022 Chemistry Award and 2023 Senior Biology Award. She also made the president’s and dean’s lists.

In addition, she will continue to study in college this fall, attending the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.

Besides academics, Warren said she was honored to represent Union College in the KMLF last year.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear crowns newly-chosen queen Morgan Grace Warren at the 2022 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival in Pineville. (Photo by Jamie H. Vaught)

“My experience with KMLF was equally as exciting as it was completely unique,” said Warren, who grew up in Knox County and graduated from Knox Central High School in 2020. “Personally, I cannot think of another event that brings together representatives from all different colleges, walks of life, and backgrounds all together in one town celebrating a tradition like this one in the state of Kentucky. I love meeting new people and forming friendships, so this aspect of Mountain Laurel was a favorite for me.

“Because of the KMLF, I will always have a special place in my heart for Pineville. The friendships I made as a result of this festival will be ones that I will treasure forever. The people of Pineville truly treated me and my family with the utmost kindness and hospitality.”

Warren really enjoyed participating in the festival’s Gala Parade.

“When thinking back on last year's festival, the most special memory for me was riding through the KMLF Gala Parade,” recalled Warren. “I was so excited to see all of the smiling faces, beautiful outfits and hats worn by all of the representatives.

“My favorite part, however, was seeing my family surprise me with pink and white confetti poppers. I think they had just as exciting of a time as I did. I will always remember seeing how special the parade is to the people of Pineville. All of the little girls with big smiles and eager waves as we came down the street were precious.”

Even though Warren grew up in neighboring Knox County, she interestingly never attended any of the KMLF events until last year.

She admits that “was surprising as I grew up in the next county over. I was in awe of the beauty of the cove and all of the other festival activities, and how the people of Pineville come together for the festival.”

Warren said she is excited about coming back to Bell County during the Memorial Day weekend as the 2022 KMLF queen.

“I am thrilled to be coming back to the festival,” said Warren. “Being around the friends I made in Pineville as well as experiencing the cove as reigning queen is truly an exciting time.

“I look forward to meeting this year's candidates and attending all events connected to the festival. I most look forward to meeting this year's queen and sharing this time-honored sisterhood with her. My hope is that she will have an experience much like the one I had. I know she will be met with the same hospitality and warm welcome that the city of Pineville gave me.”

Perhaps, with her KMLF tenure ending soon, we should give Miss Warren a new title: the Queen of Academics.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of six books about UK basketball, including newly-released "Forever Crazy About the Cats: An Improbable Journey of a Kentucky Sportswriter Overcoming Adversity." He is also the editor and founder of Magazine, and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via email at


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