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New pageants added to local circuit

LaGRANGE — Tradition will be returning to the community as two new scholarship pageants are added to the local circuit.

In addition to the Miss Troup County and Miss Troup County Outstanding Teen pageant, executive director Judy Neighbors stated she has added the Miss LaGrange and Miss LaGrange Outstanding Teen scholarship pageants.

The new contests will only be open to young ladies in Troup, Meriwether and Heard counties.

“I’ve been wanting to get more LaGrange and Troup County girls involved in the local pageants,” stated Neighbors. “I know there are talented, intelligent, young women in the area that have a servant’s heart. I want to give them this opportunity to participate in a pageant and opportunity to represent LaGrange in the Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen pageants.”

The first area pageant originally started as Miss LaGrange in the 1940s, stated Neighbors.

“My cousin, Dorothy Johnston, was Miss LaGrange in 1949 and she went on to win Miss Georgia,” she said.

Throughout the years, the pageant name was changed to Miss Troup County. Eventually, a Miss Troup County Outstanding Teen pageant for girls aged 13 to 17 years old was also added to the local circuit. Those contests were open to young ladies from all over the state.

Neighbors noticed a change in the pageants right away.

“Over the years there has been lack of participation from folks in Troup County,” she remembered.

The addition of the new pageants will hopefully bolster the interest and participation of more girls from around the community, Neighbors added.

“The Miss America program is the largest scholarship program for young women in the nation. The Miss Troup and Miss LaGrange winners will be awarded scholarships to the college of their choosing,” she explained. “For the Miss Outstanding Teens, they will gain poise, confidence, exposure, experience and life skills. This event also looks good on resumes and on college applications. Recruiters look at what activities, exposure and opportunities you’ve taken throughout your high school career.

“The pageants are like a sisterhood,” Neighbors continued. “Teens that get involved say they meet so many other teens from across the state and make lifelong friends. They work together to accomplish some of the same goals within their respective communities.”

All contestants who compete in the pageants will qualify and can apply for college scholarships through the Miss America organization, Neighbors stated.

Young ladies wishing to participate in any of the four pageants will need a talent and a platform, a subject they would be willing to speak about to others.

“There’s countless things that people have in their daily lives that can be used as a platform. School clubs like S.A.D.D. (Students Against Drunk Driving), or if you have a relative that suffered from cancer, mental health awareness, bullying, cyber bullying and more,” Neighbors explained. “It (platform) should be something that is personal to them, that they have knowledge and/or experience on that they will be willing to share with others.”

The winners of each contest will then move on to represent the community in the Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen scholarship pageants in June 2017.

For girls new to the pageant circuit, Neighbors will be holding a “boot camp” to teach them skills and requirements for the contests.

Applicants may only compete in one of the four local pageants, Neighbors said. The contests will be held the same night, Jan. 21, 2017, and four titles will be awarded.

Anyone wanting more information or applications to the boot camp, the Miss Troup County scholarship, Miss Troup Outstanding Teen, Miss LaGrange or Miss LaGrange Outstanding Teen pageants, visit www.misstroupcounty.org and click on the link for the 2017 pageant. People may also contact Judy Neighbors at 706-881-1157.

Paula Smith, 18, is crowned Miss Troup County in January. In addition to Miss Troup County, this year there will be the Miss LaGrange and Miss LaGrange Outstanding Teen scholarship pageants.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_0118MissTroup01.jpgPaula Smith, 18, is crowned Miss Troup County in January. In addition to Miss Troup County, this year there will be the Miss LaGrange and Miss LaGrange Outstanding Teen scholarship pageants. File photo
Jenna Groom, 14, is crowned Miss Troup Outstanding Teen in January.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_0118MissTroup02.jpgJenna Groom, 14, is crowned Miss Troup Outstanding Teen in January. File photo
Miss Troup County pageant contestant Mary Bereznak plays ‘Amazing Grace’ on her violin as part of the talent portion of the competition in January.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_0118MissTroup03.jpgMiss Troup County pageant contestant Mary Bereznak plays ‘Amazing Grace’ on her violin as part of the talent portion of the competition in January. File photo

By Melanie Ruberti

mruberti@civitasmedia.com

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.