Jennings saw competition too close to call

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2000

Features Editor

There was not a time during the 2001 Pike County Junior Miss Program that Rachel Jennings thought, "Hey, I might win this thing!"

So, when her name was called, she was "shocked and more than ecstatic."

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"Any one of the others could have won; everyone was qualified," Rachel said. "I remember thinking that everyone was doing so good that I felt sorry for the judges because it was a very close competition. It’s a real honor to win and a wonderful opportunity."

Rachel said competing in the Pike County Junior Miss Program was not a whim. She had thought about it and planned on it for quite a while.

"We moved to Troy from Georgia about 10 years ago and Troy has given me a childhood and a place to grow up," she said. "I wanted to give something back to the community that has given me so much."

But, Rachel said she also realizes her responsibility and her allegiance as Junior Miss is not just to Troy, but to all of Pike County.

"I will represent all of the county and that will give me many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise," she said. "I am familiar with many places in the county and I look forward to getting to know about more places and meet more people."

Jennings said, if asked the best thing about Troy and Pike County, she wouldn’t have to think very long.

"What’s so good about Troy is that everybody knows everybody," she said. "The best thing about Pike County is that it’s a small area that God has really blessed. It is a beautiful place to live."

In addition to meeting new people and getting to know more about the county in which she lives, Rachel said being Pike County Junior Miss will give her a chance to improve her speaking skills and to become a more well-rounded person.

Not only will become a ribbon cutting specialist, she will also become an ambassador for the county. She will be asked to ride in parades, attended community events and speak on behalf of Troy and Pike County at civic clubs and organizations.

Rachel said she will welcome and encourage those opportunities.

"I want the people of Pike County to be proud that I am their representative," she said.

As a senior at Charles Henderson High School this year, Rachel has a full schedule and, in addition, she is editor of the school newspaper, Trojan Myths, treasurer of the National Honor Society and vice president of Mu Alpha Theta. Rachel is also a member of the Twilighters social and service organization. And, she is active in her church, St. Martin’s Catholic Church.

The 2001 Pike County Junior Miss plans to attend the University of Florida and major in either architecture or urban planning.

"I’ve always liked to drawing and I guess that’s the reason these fields interest me," Rachel said. "The idea of planning a city or a new development within a city is very exciting. In either of those fields I would be able to combine my creativity with my educational skills. Bringing it all together would be exciting and a lot of fun."

Rachel’s choice of universities is an indication that heredity plays more of a role "college" choices than environment.

Having grown up in Trojan town and among avid, sometimes, rabid Tide and Tiger fans, Rachel is showing a lot of courage by choosing to be a Florida Gator.

She laughingly admitted the influence of her parents, Steven and Darlene, who are both Gators, but also added that the University of Florida is an outstanding university and is ranked as one of the top colleges in the nation.

But, before she becomes a Gator, Rachel will reign proudly as Pike County Junior Miss, a title she will always cherish, no matter where she roams.