Story by: Lacee Getter

The spotlight shines bright on Kelly Ragan’s face as she struts across the Township Auditorium stage on June 28th with hopes of winning the title of Miss South Carolina.

“The night that was on TV wasn’t the only night that we competed. We did a 10 minute long interview in which I was asked a couple of political questions and about my platform of self esteem and encouragement,” social studies teacher Kelly Ragan said. “The first night I did [an] onstage question, the second night was swimsuit and evening gown, and the last night of prelims[preliminary] I did talent.”

Ragan has taught at Dutch Fork since the 2013-2014 school year and she teaches CP US history and US Government.

“I think it’s amazing having a teacher who’s competed in the South Carolina pageant,” senior Maddie Campanella said. “I know many students look up to her.”

Last year, she participated in the Greenville Scottish Games pageant in Greenville, South Carolina and was crowned Miss Greenville Scottish Games.

“In the Greenville Scottish Games you have to do the same process you do for miss South Carolina, but on a smaller scale,” Ragan said “It’s the exact same thing, but with just fewer girls.”

When Ragan was in high school, she was influenced by one of her friends to start competing in pageants.

“I actually fell into pageants, a teacher that used to be here [Dutch Fork High School] named Mrs.Barnhart is one of my closest friends and she convinced me to do her pageant when I was a senior in high school,” Ragan said.

Beyond the pageants and teaching, Ragan enjoys playing sports and dancing.

“Things a lot of people don’t know is that I’m clumsy which is not good for a pageant. I’m not a typical pageant girl I would rather be dancing or doing something athletic other than having to stand on stage in a bathing suit because that’s really scary,” Ragan said.  “I have clogged since I was a little girl; that’s one of my biggest passions.”

At Miss South Carolina, Ragan did not win the number one spot, but she placed third runner up overall. The pageant has also opened up many doors and opportunities for her.

“Not only can you get scholarship money [from being in pageants], but I’ve also made lifelong friends through this process and I have girls that I still talk to on a daily basis,” Ragan said.

She encourages every girl to experience being in a pageant.

“It was a really good experience, I would definitely say any girl at this school should try it out if they’re ever thought about it,” Ragan said “I learned a lot more about myself than I thought I would.”