Troy University freshman Georgia Clark is wearing a crown as she enjoys the first semester of her collegiate career.
Clark, a Rehobeth High School graduate from Dothan, recently won the Miss Teen International pageant in Charleston, West Virginia, defeating 30 other contestants in the annual event.
She won the event based on her platform, young voter education, along with her performance in interview, fitness wear, fun fashion and evening gown competitions.
“It was shocking, honestly,” said Clark, a political science major. “Any of those girls up there could have been crowned and it would’ve made sense. Being given the honor to represent the International system for the next year and the rest of my life, it’s so incredible, and it means the world to me.”
Clark started preparing for the contest last year with a campaign called “Bold and Beautifully Kind,” but her love of politics shifted her focus to voter education.
“The whole reason I’m a political science major is that I love politics and I love figuring out how our country works,” she said. “I just really want to inform kids how important it is to vote, because it’s one of our most fundamental rights. You can’t just throw it away, because too many people have fought for it.”
Clark took her message to elementary school children, and the strength of that work helped secure her crowning, according to the Miss Teen International website.
Miss Teen International showcases the achievements of young women ages 13 to 18, and Clark called the experience among the best of her life.
“I met two lifelong friends up there, and the girls I was in the teen division with were just amazing,” she said. “I went in thinking I was not going to meet anyone like me or find a group there. I’ve always felt so different in group settings like that, but I made some really good friends.”
Now, Clark must balance her academics with her duties as Miss Teen International, her role as a member of Alpha Delta Pi and her responsibilities as a member of Freshman Forum.
“It’s been really stressful, but thankfully all my teachers have been so understanding,” said Clark, who is now spreading her platform message to middle and high school students as well as those in elementary school. “They’re working with me. In fact, one of my political science teachers said he’ll help me with my platform, and that would be great. I didn’t work with high schoolers before I won, so this is a whole new group I’m speaking with.”
Clark credits her parents for much of her success.
“They raised me to be an upstanding person who doesn’t discriminate against anyone and shows the Lord’s light wherever she goes,” she said. “I don’t think I could’ve grown up in a better place than Dothan, because it made me the person I am.”
Clark isn’t yet certain her career path, but she has a goal in mind: the White House.
“One of my biggest goals is to become Press Secretary,” Clark said.