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SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2007
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Mary Catherine McAnnally is in Montgomery this week to compete for statewide Junior Miss.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Mary Catherine McAnnally is in Montgomery this week to compete for statewide Junior Miss.

Morgan County’s
Mary Catherine McAnnally

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com· 340-2446

Mary Catherine McAnnally polished her global awareness and commitment to service on a trip to South Africa two weeks ago.

The Morgan County Junior Miss hopes that will give her an edge at the state competition next weekend, along with her ability to express herself well in interviews with judges.

“I have a knack for getting my point across, and I’m not afraid to express my opinion,” said the Decatur High School senior, the daughter of Sid and April McAnnally of Decatur.

“A lot of that comes from my dad. We’ve always done a lot of talking, and he’s always encouraged me to form my own opinion,” she said. “My involvement in community theater and speaking a lot at church has helped me become comfortable speaking to people. Talking is something I do well.”

Along with going to the gym to prepare for the fitness routine, she has been reading plenty of newspapers to keep up to date on current events. “You have to have a broad knowledge of things, because the judges can ask you about anything from politics to what fruit you’d like to be and why. You have to be prepared for anything.”

Her Decatur First United Methodist Church youth group participation led to the opportunity to attend the United Methodist Global Youth Convocation and Legislative Assembly in Johannesburg, South Africa. The part that made the most impact was a visit to a Soweto children’s home for orphans of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

McAnnally quotes writer Frederick Beuchner as saying that to discover your purpose, you must “find the place where the world’s great need meets your great joy.” She expected to pity the South African youths who didn’t have cell phones, iPods and digital cable, but instead she feels she learned a lot about people, as well as service.

“The people of South Africa are resilient and hopeful. They have made strides toward unity and fairness,” she said. “I expected to see a country dragging its feet because of all the tragedies there, but it’s not what you see on television.”

Her interests are reflected in the song she will sing in the talent competition: “For Good,” from the Broadway musical “Wicked.”

“This song is so poignant and meaningful. It talks about people that you meet in life and how lives can be changed because of the relationships you develop with them,” she said.

McAnnally is looking forward to creating a new network of friends at state, just as she did at the county competition. She said being Junior Miss means “trying to set an example for younger girls in the community and doing my best to conduct myself in a way that would make all the followers of this program proud.”

A member of the DHS Chamber Choir, Student Council, Honor Society and Just Us Girls Club, she is eyeing a liberal arts education, perhaps with a focus on journalism, at Vanderbilt University, Birmingham-Southern College or University of the South at Sewanee, Tenn.

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