Applications open for local pageants

Published 8:50 pm Sunday, November 12, 2017

With the ever-rising cost of college tuition, scholarship applications have become as vital as the college applications themselves which is why a scholarship program that focuses on local women is especially significant.

The application process for the 2018 Miss Troup County and Miss LaGrange is now open and looking for women ranging from 17-year-old high school seniors up to 24-year-olds to enter the annual scholarship competition. Miss LaGrange Outstanding Teen and Miss Troup County Outstanding Teen are also open to contestants.

“We are a scholarship program, so the girls that enter have a chance to win scholarship money or scholarship opportunities,” said Judy Neighbors, the Miss Troup County Scholarship Program executive director.

The Miss Troup County and Miss Troup County Outstanding Teen competitions are open to girls who reside or go to school in any county within the State of Georgia, but the Miss LaGrange and Miss LaGrange Outstanding Teens are limited to specifically to women ages 17 to 24 who live in Troup, Heard or Merriweather County. Winners of the pageants will be able to compete for the title of Miss Georgia, and the winner of that competition will be able to compete for the title of Miss America. All of these bring with them the possibility of additional scholarships, and Neighbors said that she has seen all the girls who compete in the contest gain confidence as they progress.

“You have to have a sense of confidence,” Neighbors said. “You have to have a talent, and you have to be knowledgeable about your current events. We are looking for the cream of the crop of the girls that have qualities to go on and to be a good local and state representative. (Girls) that can communicate well, can stay current on current events. They have to have a platform, which is something that should be personal to them. I know Kitty, our Miss LaGrange’s Outstanding Teen, her’s was the March of Dimes because she has been participating in that since she was born because her mother is neonatal nurse, so that is something that as a family they have always done.”

Contestants who do well in the pageant receive the opportunity to advocate their causes to a wider audience.

“As Miss LaGrange Outstanding Teen I have been able to represent the city at the Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen Pagent this past July and won a non-finalist talent scholarship,” Kitty Key said. “In addition, (I have been able to) educate and fundraise for the March of Dimes at our local chapter and throughout the state.”

Contestants are judged based on interview, talent, swim wear and evening wear. The talent component has seen a wide variety of performances over the years.

“They can do piano, dance, sing, play an instrument, paint, monologues, acrobatics, tumbling,” Neighbors said. “Those are all considered talents. I can’t do any of them, but those are some of the types of talents, and I know there have got to be talented, smart, young women who are willing to make a difference in their community. That is who we are looking for.”

That confidence is something that can benefit contestants later in life as well.

“The pageant has given me confidence, stage experience, interview skills, passion for volunteering, scholarships and personal growth that will prepare me to succeed in college and beyond,” Key said.

According to Neighbors, it is common for contestants to gain confidence through the pageant.

“A lot of them have so much more confidence, poise and ability to speak before others (as a result of the contest),” Neighbors said. “If they are afraid of this, this is why they should be doing it because someday they are going to have interviews for jobs and to get into college. I know people who have been in our scholarship program who have won jobs over those people with the same qualifications, but our girls knew how to interview and to talk to people, and that gave them an advantage.”

Applications for the scholarship pageant are due by Dec. 1 and can be found at The pageant is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at 7 p.m. Questions about the scholarship or sponsorship can be sent to Judy Neighbors at