122117 Miss Georgetown County: Competition returns in 2018
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Miss Georgetown County: Competition returns in 2018

By Emily Topper
Coastal Observer

After more than a 30-year hiatus, Miss Georgetown County and Miss Georgetown County Teen are making a return to the runway and to the Miss America Scholarship Organization.

Competition organizers had long wished to see Georgetown County represented on the Miss South Carolina stage. Faye Altman and Kevin Jayroe, co-executive directors, worked alongside Mariah Johnson to bring the program back to life. Johnson is the mother of Miss South Carolina 2017 Suzi Roberts, who is from Pawleys Island.

When she was crowned Miss South Carolina, Roberts was the titleholder for Miss Columbia. Prior to that, she had been crowned Miss Hartsville 2015 and Miss Coastal Islands 2016.

“We had talked about it for a long time, how it was unfortunate that there wasn’t a local representative from our county that went through the pageant,” Altman said. “After Suzi became Miss South Carolina, it became a bigger issue because she would have competed in Miss Georgetown County. It was a missed opportunity and we wanted to make sure it didn’t happen again.”

Johnson said that even without a competition, the majority of Roberts’ support and sponsorships came from Georgetown County.

“It kind of established that idea of, ‘We’re already supporting a girl, why not have a girl that would be serving our county and our area?’“ Johnson said.

Miss Georgetown County is open to girls between the ages of 17 and 24 who are residents or students in South Carolina. Miss Georgetown County Teen is open to girls between the ages of 13 to 17, up to juniors in high school. Prior to competing for the title, each competitor must raise $100 for the Children’s Miracle Network. The proceeds will benefit county residents.

“It’s a scholarship and purpose program,” Johnson said. “The girls should understand the organization and that this is a year of service. If the service portion is not what they are looking for, they won’t be successful and they won’t gain what they should out of the competition. I think that if you don’t put in the work on the service side, you’re not going to understand and you’re not going to grow.”

Altman anticipates that there will be between 10 to 15 contestants this year. The deadline to sign up for the competition is Dec. 26.

Each girl will be judged on an interview with judges and will participate in a group opening number, a fitness or swimsuit competition, evening wear and an on-stage question. Competitors must also prepare a 90-second talent routine and have a personal platform.

“The biggest portion will come from the interview done that morning,” Johnson said.

The winners of the night will be under contract for one year. During that time, the titleholders will serve as representatives of the county at events, fundraisers, ribbon cuttings and more. An executive committee will work with the winner on her platform and help prepare her for the Miss South Carolina competition.

The winner of Miss Georgetown County will receive a $1,000 scholarship. The winner of Miss Georgetown County Teen will receive a cash prize.

“Georgetown County needs to be represented at Miss South Carolina,” Jayroe said. “We need to give these ladies a chance to work for the county, support everyone and bring the county recognition.”

Based on the support that the competition has received from community sponsorships in its first year of return, organizers anticipate that the program will continue.

“We’ve had a lot of community support and a lot of community sponsors,” Altman said.

“We want everyone here, when they watch Miss South Carolina in the summer, we want them all to be screaming when Miss Georgetown County walks across the stage,” Jayroe said. “We want everyone in the state to realize that we’re all down here, and that’s our girl.”

The Miss Georgetown County and Miss Georgetown County Teen competitions will be held at 7:30 p.m., Jan. 6, at Waccamaw High School. Miss South Carolina Suzi Roberts will be on site from 6:30 to 7 p.m. for pictures and autographs. Tickets are $10 for adults at the door and $5 for children. Children ages 12 and under are free.

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