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Morrow pre-teen grabs Georgia crown

By Trina Trice

Not many teen-agers can say that they have a day named after them, but Morrow resident Lindsay Hargis, 13, can.

Hargis was recently crowned the 2003 Miss Pre-Teen Georgia, a part of the American Coed Pageant circuit.

Because of that honor, Morrow Mayor Jim Millirons issued a proclamation that officially designates June 25 as "Lindsay Hargis Miss Pre-Teen Georgia" Day.

The Forest Park Middle School eighth-grader decided to participate in the pageant just for fun.

A burst of excitement comes across Hargis' face when she remembers winning the Miss Pre-Teen Georgia crown.

"It didn't quite sink in that I won," she said. "I was looking down the aisle (of contestants) to see a girl step up, then I realized it was me. I didn't really know who was going to win."

Hargis' mother Nancy Hargis supports her daughter's pageant career, but with limits. For instance, she liked the wholesome nature of the Miss Pre-Teen pageant.

"The reason why we never got into (the pageant circuit) before is because they make (the contestants) wear make-up and look older than they are," Nancy Hargis said.

The Miss Pre-Teen contest deducts points from contestants who wear make-up.

The contestants were also judged on poise, evening wear and their responses in an interview.

"It was kind of overwhelming," Hargis said. "They watched us all the time. You had to be on your best behavior ?cause you never knew when a judge was around."

The interview portion of the contest was Hargis' favorite part, although when asked about the most exciting moment in her life, she was stumped.

"She's had so many things happen to her, it was hard to narrow it down," her mother said.

In the past year, Hargis has performed in the county-wide production of "Once on this Island" and "Aladdin" for the Clayton County Alliance for Summer Theatre.

Hargis is also a member of the Spivey Hall Children's Choir.

What's next for Hargis is fundraising for her trip to Orlando in November where she will compete in the National Miss Pre-Teen pageant.

"We're trying to raise money for the trip," Hargis' mother said. "Everyone wants to support organizations and not individuals. They can see she's a straight ?A' student and she's talented."

Hargis won $800 at the state pageant, but she could win $3,000 if she wins the national one.

The fundraising aspect of the contest is a good lesson for Hargis, her mother said: "It's a good thing for her. She has learned that nothing is free, that you have to work for it."

Pageant officials encourage contestants to find sponsors. Hargis' mother invites the public, individuals or businesses, to call (770) 961-5063 or visit Hargis' Web site at www.missgapreteen2003@yahoo.com.

While she focuses on going to Orlando, Hargis also has to think about going back to school.

"I don't know what to expect," she said. "I don't want anyone to treat me differently."

Later in July she'll get her picture taken with Gov. Sonny Purdue and state Sen. Terrell Starr.

"I've always liked being in front of people," she said. "I want to have a job that (displays my talent). I just want to be in front of people. I want to be a household name."