Miss GG shares with seniors, civic clubs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's only Wednesday, but Miss Greater Greenville 2006, Kimberly Kirby of Hueytown, has already had a whirlwind week in her adopted &#8220hometown.”

Kirby, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Montevallo, used her spring break from school to get better acquainted with the citizens of the town she is representing at Miss Alabama in June.

After visiting First Baptist Church on Sunday night, Kirby, along with her mother, Denise, traveled to Crowne Health Care on Monday morning.

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With her mom accompanying her on the piano, Kirby sang a number of favorite old hymns for the residents, including &#8220Victory in Jesus,” &#8220What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” and &#8220How Great Thou Art.”

&#8220I have several missionaries in my family on my dad's side, and preachers on my mom's side, so church has always been a big part of my life,” the title holder, who attends Pleasant Ridge

Baptist Church in Hueytown, told her audience.

Several of the seniors clamored for photos with the pretty brunette as she later talked and joked with residents, who said it was &#8220really nice” to have someone like Miss GG come and share with them.

At noon, the Kirbys were guests at the Greenville Lions Club, where Miss GG performed two numbers, &#8220Not for the Life of Me,” her selection for the Miss Alabama competition, and &#8220The Man of La Mancha,” the song she performed at the local program.

She also shared how much she had come to love the Camellia City.

&#8220First of all, the (preliminary) program itself was such a pleasant, stress-free experience…and every time I have been here, people have been so friendly and hospitable. I can see why it's called the City of Smiles,” Kirby said with a dimpled grin.

A self-described childhood tomboy &#8220who loved to play in the dirt, hated baths and anyone messing with my hair,” Kirby said she still is a &#8220jeans and T-shirt girl at heart.”

&#8220Somehow, along the way, I made the transition from tomboy to pageants,” she said.

After enjoying middle school and high school pageants (&#8220It was fun to get all dressed up and fixed up for just one night”) Kirby moved on to Miss Alabama preliminaries in college.

It was a whole new world.

&#8220I was blown away by all the preparation the young women had to do – preparing for a 12-minute interview, for example,” Kirby said.

&#8220The interview is 25 percent of the competition; talent is 35 percent. 60 percent of the judging doesn't have to do with your looks. They are looking for a well-rounded person to represent the community, state and country.”

Kirby, who initially got involved in the Miss Alabama program largely to earn scholarship monies, said she has gained a &#8220lot of valuable experience” from her involvement in the system.

&#8220I am basically a shy person…so the opportunities given to me like this one today are wonderful for growth, preparing for job interviews, and so forth,” she said.

Supporting a &#8220platform,” an issue relevant to society, is a requirement for all Miss Alabama/Miss America contestants. The cause dear to Kirby's heart?

Character education.

&#8220When so many children don't get a sense of right and wrong instilled in them at home today, it's so important to teach character education in the schools,” Kirby, who plans to teach deaf and hearing-impaired children, said.

She is also a strong supporter of the Girl Scouts of America, a program Kirby says teaches both the importance of good character and service to the community.

&#8220The platform system in Miss America means there are 12,000 preliminary winners across the country who are actively promoting community service in their towns, working to raise funds for some worthy organization. It's making a real difference,” Kirby said.

Kirby was also slated to visit the Greenville City Council and speak to the Camellia City Civitans on Monday night.

On Tuesday, she was scheduled to speak to the Greenville Kiwanis and to visit Miss GG sponsors. Tonight, Kirby will share with the RAs and GAs from 6 to 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church and with the youth from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Family Life Center for a mini-praise and worship session. Area youth are welcome to attend.