Columbia Middle School pupil Sydney Hillman hopes to connect her peers with their elders through her title as Miss Augusta Outstanding Teen.
"I actually hope to get my platform across, so that I can get more youths and just more people in the community involved with the elderly," the seventh-grader said.
Sydney, who recently turned 13, was crowned earlier this month after competing against four girls between the ages of 13 and 17. Of the 19 participants who competed in the pageant, Sydney was the youngest, said Lynn Huff, the pageant's executive director.
"I know that she is one of the outstanding teens in Columbia County," Huff said. "She has a bubbly personality. She has a willingness to do right."
Sydney is the daughter of Bart and Gloria Hillman and has three older brothers.
Through the Door of Hope Ministry, she started visiting nursing homes and entertaining the elderly when she was just 3 years old, Gloria Hillman said.
"She learned a lot from my mother, so that's why she just has this special thing with the elderly," she said.
By promoting her platform, Forgotten Elders, Sydney hopes to encourage people in the community to spend more time and energy forming relationships with the elderly.
Sydney also is a cheerleader at Columbia Middle and a member of the Columbia County 4-H program. She is currently Miss Columbia Middle School 2008.
With the exception of receiving her school's crown, the Miss Augusta Outstanding Teen was the first pageant Sydney competed in since she was named Wee Miss Augusta when she was 2, said her mother.
"I was watching her dad," Gloria Hillman said, "We have three sons. This is our only daughter, and she's the youngest, so he just was so elated watching her."
And when it came to her talent, Sydney didn't have to think too long before deciding what to choose. She sang a Christian song, Bring It All Together, by Natalie Grant and Wynonna Judd.
"I've been singing since I was about 3, and it's just been really fun for me," said Sydney, who attends New Heights Community Church on Columbia Road. "I usually sing Christian songs, and I love seeing people's faces when I sing them."
Sydney has sung throughout the Southeast both in talent competitions and as entertainment for organizations. She won first place at this year's Columbia County Fair talent show and currently holds the title of Miss Chitlin' Idol after winning a singing competition at the Chitlin' Strut in Salley, S.C.
The seventh-grader also has theatrical ambitions.
During the past two months, Sydney also has performed in plays with the Young Artists Repertory Theatre Company and Cross Bridge Baptist Church. She hopes to pursue acting and attend The Juilliard School in New York after finishing school.
After winning the local pageant, Sydney will compete for Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen.
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