EASLEY — Miss Greater Easley Teen 2013 Hope Harvard and a representative of the state in the national pageant was welcomed in Easley last week to much fanfare before departing for the national competition.
A crowd of 150 people including sister queens, local executive directors and friends came out to greet Harvard as she prepared to make the trip to Orlando, Fla., to participate in the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant. The finals are scheduled for Aug. 2.
“We’re all so proud of her and what she has accomplished,” local executive director Terry Garrison said before Harvard’s arrival at the sendoff. “She’s a great example to other young women her age and younger. Hope has a big heart and we’re proud to have her representing Easley and South Carolina.”
Garrison began the night’s celebration by reading a proclamation from Easley Mayor Larry Bagwell, naming July 24 as Miss South Carolina Teen 2014 Day. Harvard also received a key to the city in acknowledgement of her accomplishments.
“One of the things most people don’t realize is the amount of money that is given in scholarship money each year,” Garrison said of the competition. “From the states through the national competition we give away more scholarship money than any other organization for young women in the world.”
The current Miss Greater Easley, Kaylyn Gilstrap, and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2013, Rachel Wyatt, were also on hand to wish Harvard the best of luck on the national stage as well. Erin Gambrell, current chair of the Miss South Carolina Organization board and former Miss Easley, was also on hand with well wishes for Harvard.
Harvard, 16, is a sophomore at Powdersville High School, but despite her youth has quite a list of accomplishments to her credit beyond her outstanding pageant performance.
A National Junior Scholar, Harvard has also been a four-time winner of the Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Award and a participant in the Duke Tip Program. She also serves as an Assistant Teacher- Freedom in Motion (nonprofit dance classes for special needs children) and has volunteered for the Special Olympics and also as a performer at Children’s Hospital.
For Harvard and all others in attendance, seeing her return in flashy wheels much like the ones she arrived for her sendoff in will be an indicator she succeeded at the national level, but win or not, Easley is proud to have one of their own representing the Palmetto State.