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Leila S. Case: June 18, 2016

I’ve enjoyed the 2016 Miss Georgia Pageant activities in Columbus this week from the vicarious position of my handy cell phone and desktop computer.
My eyes are set on Caroline Carroll of Americus, the reigning Miss Columbus, who is among the 98 young women from across the state competing for academic and scholarship titles of 2016 Miss Georgia and 2016 Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen.
And I’ll be right there with her tonight, albeit vicariously, when Miss Georgia 2016 is crowned at the RiverCenter of the Performing Arts. I’m holding my breath — not literally — but hoping she is named among the top 15 contestants that will compete in the final round of competition and crowned Miss Georgia 2016.
Pageant results will be available on the Times-Recorder’s website Monday morning.
Caroline, 20, a lifelong Americus resident, is the daughter of John and Beth Carroll. She is a graduate of Southland Academy and rising junior at the University of Georgia where she is majoring in political science and international affairs.
This has been an exciting week for Caroline and her Pageant princess, Mary Margaret Waddell, daughter of Mark and Crystal Waddell of Americus, who has been her little shadow. Actually Caroline began her journey in the Miss Georgia Pageant system as a princess and teen contestant some years ago.
Caroline and Mary Margaret arrived in Columbus a week ago for all the exciting activities and their days have been fast-paced, moving from one event to another from early morning to late at night.
Caroline’s mom Beth updates me daily on all the activities. She reports Caroline was awesome during her on-stage interview Tuesday; the question focused on her platform mission to raise awareness of the importance of making blood donations through the American Red Cross. She wore a red and black two-piece suit — the same outfit she wore during a more in-depth interview with the judge’s Monday morning. Beth said for the opening number that night contestants were dressed alike in formal strapless gowns in ivory, navy or red, the colors randomly assigned. Caroline’s was ivory and “perfect for her.”
Tuesday’s preliminaries concluded on a high note for Mackenzie Marable of Rome, the reigning Miss Historic Southern Plains, who was named swimsuit preliminary winner. Mark and Crystal direct that pageant and mentor Mackenzie who is Caroline’s roommate this week in Columbus.
Caroline looked wonderful in the swimsuit and evening gown competition on the second night of preliminaries, according to her mom. She wore a raspberry bikini, the color all contestants wore, but in variations, and for evening gown she chose an ivory strapless silk shantung dress accented at the waistline with rhinestones and pearls and trimmed in ruffled chiffon. Mary Margaret walked the Miss Georgia stage with Caroline, and was beautiful in a formal gown featuring a bouffant tiered skirt.
Caroline danced ballet en pointe to Johannes Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5, an upbeat classical performance in Thursday’s talent competition. “We were super excited and it was awesome to watch her,” said Beth. “She was beautiful wearing her magenta and gold tutu and she danced beautifully.” Her costume is an original design created especially for her by Cathy Goodrum Scott of LaGrange, formerly of Americus.
After a full day of rehearsals and judges’ interview Monday, Caroline and the other contestants spent quality time that evening with the little princesses at the Princess Pajama Party at St. Luke United Methodist Church. She and Mary Margaret played games and did artwork wearing matching ‘jamas. The Miss Georgia Pageant promotes mentoring young girls and teens with this program, thus introducing them to the pageant system.
Anyway the pageant turns out, Caroline is a winner in every way from brains and brawn to beauty and behavior. The Pageant has been memorable for her and Mary Margaret — experiences that will forever be etched in their young minds.
Out and about: Reda Rowell, incoming president of the Americus Rotary Club, represented the club at the annual Rotary Convention in Seoul, South Korea — along with more than 40,000 other Rotarians and their families. They enjoyed to a live performance by South Korean sensation, Psy, singing and dancing to “Gangnam Style.” Reda says in Seoul, they marched through the streets with fellow Rotarians worldwide in a “March for Peace.” Other highlights include traveling with Rotarian friends from other clubs, taking advantage of a tour promoted through Rotary to Tokyo, Japan. “I’m thankful to the Americus Rotary Club for the experience of exploring two countries so different from our own in many ways and interacting with like-minded Rotarians from around the globe,” said Reda. Elsewhere, Bill and Gay Sheppard are home after a cruise to the Bahamas with their son and daughter-in-law, Cullen and Katie Sheppard, and children Michaela, 12, Margaret, 7, and Molly, 3. Sailing on Majesty of the Sea from Port Canaveral, Florida, they cruised to Nassau and CoCo Cay, a beautiful site and beach. Gay said they enjoyed the many shipboard activities and were entertained by wonderful singers and dancers and an action comedian at night. However, Gay said the highlight was seeing their grandchildren scale the rock climbing wall so high above the sea and without hesitation with gymnast arms and legs.

Leila S. Case lives in Americus.