Kendyl Pennington is more than a pretty face. Although the 13-year-old has won numerous local pageants, she sees the value of a good education and speaking out about what's right and what's wrong.
"She comes from a really good family and they are really focused," said Lynn Huff, the executive director of the Miss Augusta Scholarship Pageant.
Huff has watched Kendyl come up through the Augusta pageant circuit and knows the recently crowned Miss Augusta Outstanding Teen has what it takes to represent the area at the Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen pageant in Columbus in June.
An eighth-grader at Riverside Middle School, Kendyl boasts a litany of pageant titles - from Wee Miss, Tiny Miss and Little Miss to Pre-Teen Miss. She won Miss Augusta Outstanding Teen on Oct. 20.
"I felt confident when I went into it," said Kendyl, the daughter of John and Kathy Pennington, of Martinez. "But I had no idea that I would win it all."
Kendyl said her latest pageant win is among the most important to her because it not only means she won a beauty pageant but that she also has a platform that she must speak out on.
"I think this pageant is the most important to me because the winner gets to inform people and I think that's a lot more important than just a beauty pageant," said Kendyl, the president of her school's student council.
Her platform is Special Without Smoking. She plans to talk with teen girls, through the 4-H after-school program and at other charitable functions that reach out to young girls, about the dangers of smoking.
To win the Miss Outstanding Teen Augusta pageant, Kendyl participated in many of the same tasks as contestants for the Miss Augusta pageant - interview, lifestyle and fitness, evening wear and talent competitions.
It was Kendyl's interview presence that seemed to put the judges on the edge of their seats.
"I was told that what made me stand out to the judges was my interview," Kendyl said, "that I was very personable."
For the talent portion of the competition, she sang Barbra Streisand's Don't Rain on My Parade.
Kendyl has been taking voice lessons since she was 4 years old.
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