Miss Georgia scholarship winners to appear in local Fourth of July parade

·4 min read

Jun. 29—Two Miss Cobb County winners who were honored at a recent scholarship competition in south Georgia will be joining the residents of Marietta in the city's upcoming Fourth of July parade this weekend.

Megan Wright, 18, and Holly Haynes, 25, were named winners among 34 teen candidates and 38 miss contestants at the Miss Georgia competition after a week of rehearsals, publicity events and preliminary judging at the Three Arts Theater in Columbus, Georgia, earlier this month.

Wright, Miss Cobb County's Outstanding Teen, won the opportunity to represent the state of Georgia in the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Competition set for Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida July 27-30. Haynes, Miss Cobb County, placed 2nd runner-up in the Miss Georgia contest, where she received a total of $2,800 in scholarships, including the Women in Business award.

Both Wright and Haynes will appear in the Marietta Let Freedom Ring Parade that begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Roswell Street Baptist Church.

"I love watching the little kids on the side because they think you're a real princess," Haynes said in anticipation of the parade.

Wright, who recently graduated from Calhoun High School and plans on attending Georgia Southern University for nursing in the fall, won a total of $5,700 in scholarships after winning the Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen competition. She was awarded the preliminary talent winner and overall talent winner for her vocal performance of "Astonishing" from the musical, "Little Women," in addition to being awarded the overall fitness winner.

"My mom used to compete, and I wanted another opportunity to showcase my talent. I wanted another opportunity to perform on the stage," Wright said.

Now, Wright is preparing for the national level of the Miss Outstanding Teen competition. She said she is undergoing mock interviews, working on her fitness and sharpening her talent for the competition in July.

"The women in these competitions have such a drive and really work so hard not only to compete on the stage but to advocate for their social impact initiative and be impactful for what they do and their communities and the cause they believe in and are trying to solve," she said. "And hopefully earn some scholarship money in the process."

Wright, who has a knack for helping others, said her social impact initiative for the competition, Stop the Bleed, is important to her. Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign that encouraged bystanders to become trained, equipped and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives. She said she hopes to be impactful through the lives of others and help them get well, hence her desire to attend nursing school.

"I really have always had a passion for helping others," she said. "We as bystanders need to know and be equipped with what to do in that type of situation."

After competing for three years, Wright said sometimes learning from mistakes is much more valuable than winning every time. Her participation in competitions has helped her win more than $10,000 in scholarships and more than $20,000 from in-kind scholarships, she said.

"I'm so excited to represent Georgia at the national level," she said. "I would love to be Miss Georgia one day. I'm definitely going to enjoy college for a little while after I give up my crown, earn more scholarships for my education."

Haynes, a Cobb County resident and the Marketing Director for Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's, is a 2018 honors graduate of the University of Georgia with a BBA degree in marketing and fashion merchandising. She said she began competing in the scholarship programs in college. In total, Haynes said she has won more than $22,000 in collected college scholarships.

"By winning Miss Cobb County, and by the scholarships, I'm actually debt free from college now," she said.

For her talent component in the Miss Georgia competition, Haynes sang a contemporary vocal called "Stand Up for Love," by Destiny's Child in combination with her social impact initiative #IAmEnough. The #IAmEnough program is designed to help America's youth be confident in what makes them unique and to balance their lives, Haynes said.

Though she has aged out of the Miss America program, Haynes said she has thought about competing in the Miss USA competition.

"I'd love to start my own business as a realtor and create my own brand there and work with Sotheby's and see where Miss USA goes," she said.

The 63rd annual competition to select the next Miss Cobb County and Miss Cobb Teen is set for the Jennie T. Anderson Theater in Marietta on Aug. 7. Applications are now being accepted. The deadline to enter is July 8. For further information, contact misscobbcounty@yahoo.com.

Madison Hogan is the Lifestyle Editor of the Marietta Daily Journal, Cobb Life Magazine and the Cobb Business Journal. Follow her on Twitter @madisonhogan for the latest and greatest in lifestyle news around Cobb. Send tips to mhogan@mdjonline.com

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