Q&A with Miss Harlingen High School Georgia Newell

HARLINGEN — Georgia Newell, 17, is still walking on Cloud 9 after winning the Miss Harlingen High School Scholarship Pageant last weekend.

The Harlingen High School senior participated in the pageant with 12 other young ladies and won a $2,000 scholarship. The event, the first of its kind at Harlingen High School, took place Jan. 14 at the Harlingen Performing Arts Center.

Contestants won plaques, trophies and scholarships for various categories, including Best Talent, Miss Congeniality, Miss Photogenic, Director’s Choice and People’s Choice. Each contestant had a platform, a plan for how she wanted to help the community during her reign.

The HHS Speech, Drama and Debate Team presented the pageant. Plans are already underway for next year’s event.

Q: How did you feel when you realized you’d won?

A: Honestly it was just kind of excitement and shock, because I did not think it was going to be me, because all these other girls deserved it just as much as I did. When my name was called I was like ‘Oh, my goodness. This is crazy.’

Q: What was your platform?

A: It was about maintaining communications in the digital age.

Our generation has basically lost the art of communication, especially with just your family, because parents will come home from one or two all-day jobs to their kids who are on their phone. And if kids don’t know how to communicate with their own parents, how are they going to communicate with other people in the real world.

Q: How did you prepare for the pageant?

A: This is a scholarship pageant so it isn’t based off of beauty or how you look or whatever, it’s based off of what you know and how you present yourself in interview. So I prepared myself for interview by having random people ask me questions. My friend Avery has done pageants before and I’ve had sit-downs with her. She’d call me on the phone and would just kind of spew questions at me and have to throw answer back at her. Because I have a lot to say, I just needed to work on how to say it. I just mainly prepared for interview.

Q: What was one of the big challenges?

A: I have a lot to say, and in my mind it sounds great, but getting it from my mind to my mouth it doesn’t really work out that well. It was kind of working on how to say something without pausing, or saying like, um, how, stuff like that.

Q: What did you do for the talent part of the pageant?

A: That was something that I knew I already was going to do, because I sing and play guitar and I did that at a talent show freshman year. It was just something that I enjoy doing and I was like, ‘Well, I don’t have anything else special about me. Let’s just go do that. I wasn’t going to waste my time trying to learn to do something else.’ She performed the song, ‘Better’ by Maggie Rose.

Q: What was the difference between beauty pageants and this scholarship pageant?

A: Since it was not a beauty pageant all of us were learning from each other and all of us became closer friends. So no matter who won what we were all super excited for each other, like when one of the other girls won individual awards all of us were clapping and saying congratulations, and whenever I won everybody came up and said congratulations, and we were just one big family. There wasn’t really this sense of cattiness or competition, or ‘Oh, I need to be better than she is or Oh, she’s better than me, let me try to do something else. So that was really cool.

Q: What did you enjoy most about the pageant?

A: I enjoyed meeting all these girls because our school is super big, so getting representatives from a lot of different things and just girls who signed up to be in the pageant it was super cool to get to know each other in a smaller setting and get to know more about each other and our likes and dislikes and then watching everybody do their talent you kind of learn something about them that you didn’t know before.

Q: What will her duties be as the scholarship pageant?

A: I’ll be representing the high school at different community service events. Whatever opportunities pop up, I’ll be there. I’ll be at school board meeting sometimes. Also, already, my presence has been requested by some girl scouts to speak in front of them. So I’m just kind of going to be a voice for the high school, but also be a voice for girls and the younger generations who coming up into our high school to show them what being a leader is all about.

Q: How will you use the $2,000 scholarship money?

A: I will be using that for books and tuition at Texas A&M University-College Station because that is expensive. I will be studying poultry science with a minor in political science and ag education.

Q: What awards did you win?

A: Miss Congeniality. All the girls voted for the most outgoing and helpful.”

Q: What other activities are you involved?

A: President of her school’s FFA chapter. Member of the Parent Teacher Student Association and the National Honor Society.