Former Swainsboro resident is Miss Augusta

by | October 31, 2007 12:00 am

By Elizabeth Billips The True Citizen

By Elizabeth Billips The True Citizen

Maybe it was the Toccata Khachaturian that wowed the Miss Augusta judges…that, or her determination to get a service learning curriculum in every Georgia classroom. Twenty-year-old Laura Stone, formerly of Swainsboro, isn’t sure. But what the University of Georgia pre-law senior does know is that the Miss Augusta crown will be hers for the next year, along with the opportunity to share her platform with civic clubs and educators. On Oct. 20, the Waynesboro native topped six other contestants to claim the title, while her parents Mayor Jesse and Amanda Stone cheered her on from the audience.

“I had hoped to place, but I didn’t expect to win,” Laura said after stealing the talent competition with a classical piano piece. “This is all very new to me.” But Laura doesn’t have time for slow immersion. She’ll soon be traveling the state to talk up her own platform, as well as the good works of the Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that benefits the pageant.

She also has to prepare for the Miss Georgia pageant in June, just one of the perks of her new title. And if she has the same effect on those judges, it’s on to Miss America. Miss Augusta’s executive director Lynn Huff has high hopes for Laura, noting that this year’s pageant drew hardy competition from the seven county area around Augusta. “All of the talent was wonderful,” Huff said. “But Laura was poised, polished and consistent across the board.”

That won’t surprise most locals. The Edmund Burke Academy valedictorian has built a sky-high list of accomplishments since moving here from Swainsboro at age 13, including her recent selection as one of UGA’s “Amazing Students.” Along with making straight A’s, Laura is usually neck-deep in community service projects, once even spending spring break on the streets with Washington, DC’s homeless.

It’s with that same spirit that Laura plans on wearing her new crown. It’ll be her ticket to talk to community leaders and educators about the importance of taking a more holistic classroom approach to learning about both global and local problems. “It’s really about bringing experience and service right into the classroom,” Laura said, pointing out that a canned food drive can only teach a student so much about world hunger.

Her proposed curriculum, which would also include a Global Youth Service Day, would encourage students to identify issues that affect their communities and to take on service projects with a full-circle approach. That approach would not only involve demographic studies and community gauging, but would allow students to see, first hand, the impact of their efforts.

  • Former Swainsboro resident is Miss Augusta
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