Atlanta, Middle Ga. contestants win Miss Georgia Friday preliminaries

Two teens representing Atlanta and two women from Middle Georgia won the final preliminary awards for this year’s Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen competitions Friday.

Miss Greater Atlanta’s Outstanding Teen Mary Wilhemina Hodges took home her second award of the week, adding Friday’s preliminary talent to the preliminary evening gown and on-stage question award she won Wednesday. Hodges, a 14-year-old from Louisville, performed a high-energy tap dance routine to a remix of the classic song “Boogie Shoes.” Hodges’ feet moved seemingly a mile a minute as she executed graceful spins and poured personality through her facial expression.

MORE | Miss Georgia 2019: How to watch, what you need to know

Miss Atlanta’s Outstanding Teen Rebecca Zhang took home the preliminary on-stage question and evening gown award. Zhang, a 14-year-old from Johns Creek, sauntered across the stage in a black velvet gown with a bejeweled cheetah-print top and a regal updo before lightheartedly answering a question from the judges. Asked what she was most appreciative of after extensive international travel, Zhang said she was grateful for America’s high-quality toilets. Zhang said she regularly visits China where the bathroom situation is much more dicey, and she is always grateful for a “luxurious American toilet” upon her return.

In the Miss Georgia competition, Miss Warner Robins Kelsey Hollis won the preliminary talent award. Hollis, a Warner Robins native who won Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen in 2017, sang Whitney Houston’s “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” showing off a rich voice with incredible control during both runs and belting.

Miss Troup County Lyndsay Richardson won the preliminary on-stage question award. Richardson, of Bonaire, discussed her senior thesis, which connected musical education and success in other scholastic categories. Richardson, now a teacher herself, uses music as a tool in subjects like English and social studies to help students succeed.

The scores each contestant received in the three days of preliminary competition will determine who makes it into the top 12 and competes on Saturday night in the finals. You can watch the final night of Miss Georgia and Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen competition at 7 p.m. Saturday by visiting

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