TUPELO —After months of preparation, it all came down to two young women standing center stage, tightly holding one another’s hands at the Tupelo Performing Arts Center on Sunday, March 24.
Moments later, 13-year-old Harleigh Ann Fortenberry of Moselle was announced as Miss Pre-Teen Mississippi United States 2019. The audience erupted into applause and the then-Miss Pre-Teen Jones County United States stepped forward to accept her new title, crown, sash and bouquet of flowers.
In addition to taking home the ultimate prize, Fortenberry received recognition for her top placement in the state costume competition. She will continue her duties both as a member of South Jones Junior High School’s Show Choir and active community volunteer while she prepares for the national pageant this summer.
Fortenberry will travel to Las Vegas in July, where she will join 49 other state titleholders in competing for the chance to become Miss Pre-Teen United States 2019.
Shortly after the curtain closed, Fortenberry expressed her excitement for the year ahead and gratitude for the honor.
“I am so humbled and thankful for the opportunity to represent Jones County and the state of Mississippi this year,” she said. “I will do everything I can to make my state proud and bring awareness to the epidemic of bullying among my generation and the ones to come.”
Fortenberry plans to dedicate her reign to promoting her personal platform — “Be Brave, Not Bullies,” which encourages others to stand up for their peers and lifting one another up both inside and outside of the classroom. She will also work closely with the organization’s state charity, the Chris Hope Foundation.
She is the daughter of Robert and Mandy Hughes of Moselle, and Dusty and Marla Fortenberry of Pelahatchie.
Caroline & Company Productions is the parent company that produces and directs the Miss Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee United States Pageants, which serve as official state preliminaries to the Miss United States Pageant.
Powered by the motto, “Empower, inspire, invest,” the organization is committed to enriching the lives of women in the tri-state area. For more, go to carolineandcompanyproductions.com.