#039;Steel Magnolias#039; alive and well

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

Southern women have often been referred to as steel magnolias – lovely and feminine on the outside, but made of plenty of the sturdy stuff on the inside. They epitomize the iron fist in the velvet glove.

On Saturday night, eight young ladies from Butler County showed they had "the right stuff" when they took the stage at the Greenville High Auditorium for the 2006 Butler County Junior Miss Program.

Mamas and daddies, grams and grandpas alike can be proud of these girls.

Many hours of rehearsal went into preparing for Saturday night, not to mention time spent writing the "Be Your Best Self" essay.

The participants also had to respond to a question on stage after having a brief time to contemplate their answer. All the girls were interviewed by the judges on Saturday afternoon as well.

Junior Miss demands much more than just a pretty face, though there was certainly an abundance of those on stage last night.

Poise, grace under pressure, a quick mind and a strong body – all this and talent, too, are required by this program, which looks for the well-rounded high school senior girl to represent her county.

Lacey Norrell, daughter of David and Melissa Norrell, Butler County's new Junior Miss, proved to be just that kind of young woman.

Lacey can charmingly waltz across the stage in an evening gown, breeze through a comic monologue like a trouper and easily do military-style pushups with one leg in the air, all without losing that million-dollar smile or breaking a sweat. (She did, however, work up a warm glow befitting a southern girl).

To simply get through the demanding program is an accomplishment in itself. To take five category awards and the title, too, is extraordinary. Congrats, Lacey!

Kudos also go to 2nd alternate Mallory Lee, 1st alternate Maryanne Hancock, scholarship winner Amy Tillery along with Kimberlee Johnson, Kendra Mitchell, Trawick Smith and Terrell Brannon for doing an outstanding job. Congratulations as well to the hard-working members of the Camellia City Junior Woman's Club for another job well done in sponsoring this annual program.

Hurrah for all these steel magnolias – or perhaps we should call them steel camellias. You go, girls!

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I continue to hear many inspiring stories about our hurricane relief efforts here in the city and county. I applaud all those who are making the effort to help those left homeless and hurting by Katrina.

I know you are not doing it for attention or publicity, but I like to give credit where it is due. And why should we focus on just the bad stuff?

The distribution center at the old Wickes building is slated to be open only a few more days (through Sept. 23), so stop by soon to see what they need or give the center a call at 371-0790 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.