LaGrange native wins Miss Georgia’s Teen Competition
Published 9:45 am Friday, June 23, 2023
By Charlotte Reames
Springwood student Charlie Key became a hometown hero for becoming the first LaGrange resident to win the 2023 Miss Georgia’s Teen Competition.
“We’re proud to have her be a hometown girl winning the title of Miss Georgia’s Teen,” said Trina Pruitt, CEO and executive director of Miss Georgia.
Key has been competing in the Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition for five years where she has gained interview skills, earned over $10,000 in scholarship money and built relationships with other participants.
“To be awarded Miss Georgia’s Teen means a lot to me because of how much this organization has given me,” Key said. “I’m now able to give that to other girls, be an example and also promote the March of Dimes, which is my community service initiative and my ministry, Be A Light, on the state level and at the national competition.”
The Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition began in 1945 and is based in LaGrange. The program honors one member as the representative of the organization, to be “a person of character and a representative of service,” who promotes education and community service.
Key certainly fits the mold of Miss Georgia’s Teen. In the upcoming year, she will be the president of the SGA for both Springwood School and the AISA. She is also the captain of the Springwood varsity soccer team and serves as a historian for the LaGrange Youth Council.
Key takes an active role in community service, serving as a team captain for the March of Dimes program. Her community service initiative, Healthy Moms, Strong Babies, is to improve U.S. maternal and infant health outcomes. Her passion came from meeting baby Walker, the 2017 March of Dimes Ambassador Baby.
“In Georgia, we have an ‘F’ on our [March of Dimes] prematurity report card,” Key said. “So as Miss Georgia’s Teen, it’s going to be really important to me to be able to go to March for Babies walks all throughout Georgia, volunteer and continue to raise funds through signature project fundraisers that are created in the past and hopefully new ones as well.”
The 2022 March of Dimes Report Card shows that Georgia’s preterm birth rate is 11.9%
Since 2017, Key has created project fundraisers, social media campaigns and raised over $4,000 for the organization.
“Without moms and babies, there is no future,” Key said. “And so it’s important that each of us take a step forward in that.”
Key has shown leadership in her faith as well. In 2021, she created a podcast in which she interviewed individuals who have been “lights in their communities,” based on the Bible verse Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.”
The podcast has grown to have listeners from 12 countries. Now, Key visits churches and schools as a part of her ministry called Be A Light.
“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and I think that we do have so much to share in this world,” Key said. “And we do have a voice, but a lot of times, we don’t realize that.”
Key has been involved in Miss Georgia competitions from a young age, winning Miss Georgia Princess at 11, Miss America Organization at 13 and Miss Cobb County’s Teen last year. In the past two years, Key has won over $10,000 in college scholarships, including her award from last weekend.
“Miss America is actually the number one scholarship provider for young women in the US,” Key said. “So it’s incredible that they really focus on allowing women to provide for their education because it’s important to take that step forward for their lives and lead to more success through education.”
According to Pruitt, the Miss Georgia Competition awarded close to $80,000 in scholarships this past weekend.
Because of her passion for public speaking, Key plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism.
“Because of the Miss America organization, I’ve realized that I have a passion for public speaking and for interviewing, and it’s given me those skills, so I feel ready to study that,” Key said. “I realized that it’s what I want to do with my life.”
As she dons the Miss Georgia’s Teen crown, Key next prepares to represent her home at the Miss America competition. The date and location of the national competition has not yet been announced.