Bonaire Elementary student to compete in national pageant

November 20, 2013 

Caitlyn Banks, right, receives a certificate of appreciation from Amy Martin, of the Macon Rescue Mission. Caitlyn, the recently crowned Miss Georgia Junior Pre-Teen, collected more than 150 coats for the mission.


One of the most enjoyable interviews I have done in a long time came last week when I had the chance to interview Caitlyn Banks, a third-grader at Bonaire Elementary School.

Interviewing children can be difficult, but Caitlyn was full of personality and easy to talk to -- as long as I knew what I was talking about.

Caitlyn Banks was crowned Miss Georgia Junior Pre-Teen at the Georgia National American Miss pageant this past summer. Caitlyn won her title after competing against 180 other girls in the same age division. She will travel this month to Anaheim, Calif., to compete at the national pageant.

At the state pageant, Caitlyn had to compete in categories such as interview, on stage introduction, and evening wear. She also chose to compete in casual wear and talent as optional categories.

The pageant also judges on community service.

“It is not just about winning the title,” said Caitlyn’s mother, Jennifer Banks. “It is about working in your community.”

Caitlyn did a coat drive and collected more than 150 coats with the One Warm Coat Foundation to donate to the Macon Rescue Mission.

“I am really excited and happy that I get to go to California,” Caitlyn said, “because I have never been there before. I am really really excited about going to represent my state in California. But the one thing that I am the most excited about is that I get to help the Macon Rescue Mission. If you are homeless, you don’t have a lot of money and you don’t have money to spend on a coat.”

Caitlyn got to visit the Macon Rescue Mission when she delivered the coats and had a tour of the facilities.

“It makes me feel really glad that they have a place to stay and they have food and they have a dog,” Caitlyn said.

While she is in California competing, Caitlyn will have the opportunity to visit Disneyland and have a tour of Hollywood.

“I can’t say which I am more excited about because I am excited about both. I can’t wait to compare how Disneyland is different from Disney World and I want to see the stars on the ground.”

The only hiccup in our interview came when I asked Caitlyn about seeing “real stars.”

She said that she had studied all about them in school and asked me if I knew that they aren’t really “star-shaped.”

It took me a minute to figure out what she meant but then I realized that the mistake was on me and clarified myself to her -- by real stars I had meant movie stars.

Caitlyn said she hoped to see Selena Gomez and Stephanie Scott.

Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467 or

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