Miss GG #8216;04 readies for Miss America

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 20, 2007

A former Miss Greater Greenville is preparing for the top prize - the Miss America crown.

Melinda Toole of Birmingham, the current Miss Alabama and Miss GG 2004, left for Las Vegas yesterday to begin a busy week of rehearsals, photo ops and much more.

The preliminaries for Miss America will be held January 25-27, with the final program scheduled for national broadcast on Country Music Television (CMT) at 7 p.m. Central Standard Time Monday, January 29.

Toole, an accomplished vocalist and aspiring elementary teacher, became well known in the Camellia City during her reign. The Samford University honor graduate made numerous public appearances and shared her platform on Character Education with many area schoolchildren and civic clubs. Her ultimate career goal: to be National Teacher of the Year.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, the dark-haired beauty said she's been &#8220packing a lot, going to voice lessons, reading and watching the news and working out.”

&#8220I've been doing everything I can to prepare for next week,” Toole said.

&#8220Winning Miss GG was where it all started. So the folks in Greenville are very special to me.”

And the Miss GG Scholarship Board is thrilled &#8220one of their own” is competing for the national title.

&#8220We are very excited about Melinda representing the state at Miss America. She was a wonderful Miss GG and we are so proud of her,” said Sue Arnold of the Miss GG Scholarship Board.

Toole said the four-day pageant camp held last September in Los Angeles was a &#8220good experience.”

&#8220Not only was the pageant camp a great chance to learn about preparing for the finals, it was also a chance to get together with all the other contestants and get to know each other beforehand. It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere - not all the stress and pressure of finals time,” she said.

&#8220Now, when we see each other next week, it will be like a big reunion.”

A behind-the-scenes glimpse of pageant camp will be offered to viewers during a two-hour special slated to air at 8 p.m. CST on Friday January 26 on CMT.

&#8220Not only will viewers get to see what went on at the camp during the special, they will also have the chance to vote on the top three finalists for Miss Congeniality as chosen by the 52 contestants. You will be able to text message or e-mail your vote in,” Toole said.

&#8220If I make it, I hope everyone will be good enough to give me their vote.”

Arnold encourages everyone to mark their calendars for both January 26 and 29.

&#8220If Melinda makes it into the top three for Miss Congeniality, we definitely want to have lots of votes coming in for her,” the Miss GG chairman said.

&#8220We also want everyone to plan to watch the pageant that following Monday night and cheer on our girl.”

For those wishing to send cards and other tokens of support to Toole, mail items no later than Wednesday, January 24, to: Miss Alabama-Melinda Toole, Aladdin Hotel and Business Center, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109.

Arnold said well-wishers may use Melinda's Birmingham address as a return address in case the card doesn't arrive in time: Melinda Toole, 2805 Crescent Ave. Suite 2, Birminngham, AL 35205.