History records show that the Miss Emanuel County Scholarship Pageant was born in 1978 with a small gathering of Swainsboro Jaycees and Jaycettes. James Parrott was the primary instigator with Bob Ritchie as his co-conspirator. (Bob was then our regional representative for the Miss Georgia Pageant and served as our Master of Ceremonies at every Miss Emanuel County & Miss Southeast Georgia Pageant up until his untimely death in August 2006. Bob passed away the week following our 29th annual pageant.) James and Bob presented the idea of a pageant as a “big bucks” fundraiser – however, neither of them ever admitted to making such a claim!
The Swainsboro Jaycees officially adopted the program in March of that year and after four successful Miss Emanuel County productions, the Miss Southeast Georgia title was added in 1982. From 1999 to 2005, Beta Sigma Phi officially joined the Jaycees to make up the Pageant Board. During this time, the Teen program was introduced at state and on the local level. In the fall of 2006, a new group of local franchise supporters were elected to join the Jaycees, forming the Jaycees & “Friends”. This pageant board decided to add two more crowns to their pageant family. In following with the new & improved Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Organization, the pageant board crowned representatives at their first Emanuel County & Southeast Georgia Outstanding Teen pageants.
From 1979 to present day, The Miss Emanuel County and Miss Southeast Georgia Scholarship Pageants have had many beautiful, intelligent and talented young women represent our area. Some of the final placements include one top fifteen finalist, seven top ten finalists, one fourth runner up, four third runners up, two first runners up, and four winners at the state level. Tammy Fulwider, Marlesa Ball, Stephanie Michels, and Kara Martin have all worn our crown and gone on to represent Georgia at the Miss America Pageant. National accomplishments continue on with one Quality of Life award finalist, one preliminary swimsuit winner, one top ten final placement, and one first runner up to Miss America. Other accomplishments on the state level include four preliminary talent winners, eight preliminary swimsuit winners, six non-finalist talent winners, one non-finalist interview winner, one Community Service Award, one Christian Service Award, and one Miss Georgia overall talent winner. In most recent years, the area’s Outstanding Teen representatives have also succeeded on the state level resulting in one top ten final placement, one preliminary fitness wear winner and one Georgia’s Outstanding Teen overall fitness winner.
After celebrating the 30th annual Miss Emanuel County and Miss Southeast Georgia pageants in August 2007, the Swainsboro Jaycees decided they would no longer sponsor the pageants if another suitable sponsor could be found. The “friends” group of the pageant board quickly came forward to assume sponsorship of the pageants. In June 2008, following the state finals in Columbus, Georgia the newly formed M3G Group assumed full sponsorship of the Emanuel County/Southeast Georgia pageants.
Many young women have worn the crowns of Miss Emanuel County and Miss Southeast Georgia and well over four hundred young ladies have benefited from this scholarship program. The Miss America Organization is one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the world’s largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. The local pageant is proud to be a part of such an organization. Last year, the Miss America Organization and its state and local organizations made available more than $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance. This assistance is not just for the handful of young women who become Miss America, but is available to the over 12,000 young women who compete in the state and local competitions as well.
Rich in history and social significance, the Miss America Organization is a not-for-profit organization that has maintained a tradition for many decades of empowering young women to achieve their personal and professional goals, while providing a forum in which to express their opinions, talent and intelligence.