Two young women have been preparing for almost a year to represent Warner Robins in the Miss Georgia pageant held this week in Columbus.
Miss Warner Robins Courtney Walker and Miss Warner Robins Outstanding Teen Carmen Foskey will be among the women competing for the Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen crowns.
Walker, 21, is a second-year pharmacy student at the University of Georgia and a former Miss Warner Robins High School as well as valedictorian of the Warner Robins High class of 2009.
Preliminaries start Wednesday. Walker will compete in swimsuit on Wednesday, talent on Thursday and evening wear on Friday. The final competition will be held Saturday.
For her talent, Walker will sing Nobody Does it Like Me by Shirley Bassey.
I fell in love with the song and really connected with it, Walker said. I could see myself singing it on stage.
Drawing on a family connection, Walker selected Ronald McDonald House Charities as her platform. Her cousin was born two months premature and given a 30 percent chance of survival.
Weeks of surgeries and intensive care were crucial to saving her life, Walker said. Her family found a place to rest during the weeks of care at the Ronald McDonald House Family Room in Cleveland, Ohio. Ronald McDonald House Charities provided our family with peace of mind. We knew that we were only steps away from baby Katie.
Walker serves as a volunteer with Ronald McDonald House Charities and has worked preparing meals for family members and playing board games with siblings staying there. She also has participated in various fundraising endeavors including coordinating a universitywide soda can pop-tab competition. She has spoken to many organizations on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Charities.
The title of Miss Georgia will aid my journey in becoming an advocate for not only this charity but also for the children and families who need the help of this indispensable organization, Walker said.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities vision statement says that when you change a childs life, you change a familys, which can change a community, and ultimately the world. I believe that.
The Miss Warner Robins pageant is held in July every year, making it one of the first pageants of the Miss Georgia year. That gives winners like Walker almost a year to prepare for Miss Georgia.
I have been working on everything for almost a year, Walker said. I am ready to go represent Warner Robins.
While some contestants at Miss Georgia have arrived through an at-large preliminary pageant open to anyone within the state, Walker said representing her hometown has given her an edge in preparing for the competition.
It means so much to me because Warner Robins is my hometown. I have a personal connection with my title, and that has driven me to do the best I can do all year.
Foskey, Miss Warner Robins Outstanding Teen, echoes those comments.
It gives you an additional advantage when you know your hometown is backing you up, Foskey said. I know the face and the life stories of those cheering me on as Miss Warner Robins Outstanding Teen.
Foskey will perform for her talent The Beatles classic, I Want to Hold Your Hand.
It is timeless, she said. Every teenage girl has had that moment in their life.
Foskey is a rising junior at Warner Robins High School where she carries a 4.0 GPA. She is a Beta Club member and a Governors Honors Program nominee.
Foskey also chose the Ronald McDonald House Charities for her platform and also is drawing on her own family experience for her inspiration.
Her brother required open heart surgery at the age of 6 months, and while her parents were arranging for housing, Foskey said, the Ronald McDonald House found us.
She volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House in Macon every week providing support for families by cooking meals and cleaning. She has also organized soda can pop-tab collections for fundraising.
It does not take a person with prestige or wealth to make a difference, Foskey said. Simply donating pop tabs can help to change a familys life.
The Miss Georgia pageant will be web streamed on www.wrbl.com. Along with Walker and Foskey, there are two other local contestants.
Charlene Bibeau, of Warner Robins, is a former Miss Houston County High School and the current Miss Georgia Southern University. Miss Atlantas Outstanding Teen Taylor Peterson, of Kathleen, attends Houston County High School and is a former Miss Warner Robins Outstanding Teen.
Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or firstname.lastname@example.org.