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Special needs pageant crowns new kings, queens

Cara Towe was crowned Miss Adult Special Henry County during Saturday’s pageant. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

Cara Towe was crowned Miss Adult Special Henry County during Saturday’s pageant. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Kai Yee is crowned Mr. Young Adult Special Henry County by Miss Locust Grove Ashlynn Thorpe Saturday. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Ahmeerah Bagi can hardly contain her excitement after being crowned Miss Young Adult Special Henry County. Miss Locust Grove Ashlynn Thorpe is affixing the sash around her. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Ahmeerah Bagi can hardly contain her excitement after being crowned Miss Young Adult Special Henry County. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Crowd favorite Charlie Feldt gets his crown from Miss Locust Grove Ashlynn Thorpe after winning the title Mr. Teen Special Henry County Saturday. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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The title of Miss Teen Special Henry County goes to Holly Fogg. Miss Locust Grove Ashlynn Thorpe helps her with her sash during Saturday’s pageant. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Judges Steven Christopher, Nikki Hedgecoth and Deborah Benefield, who is chief judge of Clayton County Superior Court. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Family and friends of pageant contestants during Saturday’s annual event, held at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Trophies and sashes were awarded to kings and queens in several age divisions Saturday. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Morrow Tourism Executive Director and President Mike Twomey co-emceed the pageant Saturday with Miranda Davis at Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove where she teaches. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Family and friends crowd the auditorium of Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove to watch the annual Henry County Special Needs Pageant held there Saturday. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Mr. Adult Special Henry County Ojo Miller of Riverdale was this year’s oldest pageant contestant. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)

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Amelia Oberst of Jackson was crowned Baby Miss Special Henry County.

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Dakota Chamlee of Ellenwood was crowned Little Miss Special Henry County.

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Kip Waggoner of Jackson was crowned Wee Miss Special Henry County.

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Charlize Higgins of Forest Park was crowned Tiny Miss Special Henry County.

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Garrett Howard of Locust Grove was crowned first prince of Little Mr. Special Henry County.

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James Holmes of Clayton County was crowned Little Mr. Special Henry County.

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Kelvonte Usher of Jackson won the title of Preteen Mr. Special Henry County.

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Madison Wanzer of Hampton was crowned first princess of Tiny Miss Special Henry County.

LOCUST GROVE — The new Mr. and Miss Special Henry County professed their love for Jesus during the interview portion of the annual pageant held Saturday.

Ojo Miller of Riverdale was crowned king in the Adult Division and Cara Towe of Fayetteville will serve as queen. Both drew applause and cheers from the audience packed into the auditorium of Strong Rock Christian School.

Towe said her goals included getting a job and being healthy. She said she wanted to win the title to spread the word of God.

“I want to tell everyone that Jesus Christ is my savior and I believe in Him,” she said.

Miller echoed that belief.

“I love the Lord, Jesus Christ,” he said.

The pageant has been held for about a dozen years in Henry County, attracting contestants with special needs from the Southern Crescent. It was the first of its kind in the country.

The daylong event crowned kings, queens, princesses and princes from babies to adults. At 40, Miller was the oldest contestant.

Morrow Tourism Executive Director and President Mike Twomey and Strong Rock teacher Miranda Davis co-emceed the teen and adult portion of the pageant and asked several questions of each contestant. Miller answered the question, “What would you be if you could be anything?” with an answer that brought an outburst of laughter from the audience.

“I’d be a millionaire and a pastor,” he said. “I’d buy a limo service for my mom and a hair salon for my dad.”

He wasn’t shy about his reasons for wanting to win, either.

“I’m funny, I’m outgoing and I’m nice-looking,” said Miller.

Towe had only a modicum of modesty.

“I’m beautiful in my own way,” she said.

Miller also won the People’s Choice Award in the Adult Division and was recognized for giving the best answer and having the best personality in the same division.

Towe’s long white gown accented in maroon flowers earned her the best dress award among the adult females.

Serving with Towe are princesses Dominique Taylor of Fayetteville, Elizabeth Hampton of Morrow, Kara Maker of Rex and Meghan Yelton of Peachtree City.

Miller’s princes are Styvon Burks of Stockbridge and Mario Duffy of Fayetteville.

The Junior Division was emceed by Roger Allen and judged by Bob Vaughn, Laura Turner and Virginia Freeman Ford.

Winners were Amelia Oberst of Jackson as Baby Miss Special Henry County, Kip Waggoner of Jackson as Wee Miss Special Henry County, Charlize Higgins of Forest Park as Tiny Miss Special Henry County and Madison Wanzer of Hampton as her first princess.

James Holmes of Clayton County was crowned Little Mr. Special Henry County and Garrett Howard of Locust Grove as his first prince, and Kelvonte Usher of Jackson won the title of Preteen Mr. Special Henry County.

Judges in the older age divisions were Steven Christopher, Nikki Hedgecoth and Deborah Benefield, who is chief judge of Clayton County Superior Court.

Joshua Bryant of Jonesboro took the People’s Choice Award in the Teen Division and Rebecca Heaton of Hampton won the award in the Young Adult Division.

Outgoing Miss Teen Special Henry County Haley Fogg of Stockbridge relinquished her crown to her twin sister, Holly Fogg. Another sister, Stormy Fogg, is a princess in the teen court.

Mr. Teen Special Henry County is Charlie Feldt of Hampton, who will serve with princes Bryant and Trey Morris of Locust Grove.

Ahmeerah Bagi of McDonough was crowned queen of the Young Adult Division. On her court are princesses Natasha Henricks of McDonough, Leecy Cothran of Stockbridge, Caroline Parker of Fayetteville, Jamie Waters of Fayetteville, Brianna Waters of Jonesboro and Heaton.

Kai Yee of Fayetteville will serve as king of the Young Adult Division with Lakedrin Lewis of McDonough and James McDaniel of Fayetteville serving as princes.

The winners will represent Henry County in a variety of programs over the next year, including parades and events at Atlanta Motor Speedway.