Burkholder, who was third runner-up in last year’s competition, was crowned by the 2011 Miss Cobb County Briana Jewett at the Jennie T. Anderson Theater at the Cobb Civic Center in Marietta, where the event was presented.
“This is something I’ve worked toward for the last two years,” Burkholder said. “I feel very excited and humbled. This pageant is very special to me.”
As Miss Cobb County 2012, Burkholder won a $10,000 cash scholarship along with the opportunity to compete at the 2012 Miss Georgia pageant this November in Cartersville. She was also named the winner for preliminary swim suit and interview awards.
A native of Cobb County and a Walton High School graduate, Burkholder started competing in pageants during her senior year of high school.
Burkholder, who is the daughter of Steve Burkholder and Susan Jenkins, was crowned Miss Rome 2011, which allowed her to compete at the 2011 Miss Georgia pageant this summer.
Currently a junior at the University of Mississippi, Burkholder is studying English with the hopes of becoming a high school English teacher upon graduation.
Her platform issue is “It’s Your Turn to Be Great” supporting the Boys & Girls Club of America.
Burkholder said her biggest thanks go to her mother.
“My mom has been through this entire thing with me from the beginning,” she said. “I’m very lucky to have my family and friends to support me.”
Burkholder, who was sponsored by L.D.J. Enterprises, performed a jazz dance to the song “Fame.” She wore a glittering silver-blue evening gown as she was crowned.
As outgoing advice to the 18 contestants, Jewett called upon the girls to be steadfast in their efforts.
“Persistence is key,” she said. “It took me my third or fourth try to win this title. Just keep going and keep a smile on your face.”
Other past Miss Cobb winners in attendance included the 2011 Miss Georgia, Michaela Lackey of Marietta.
Joanne Grogan Feldman, an Emmy-winning meteorologist for Fox 5 Atlanta, who held the title of Miss Cobb County 1993, emceed the event.
Brianna Godshalk, 18, won first runner-up. The Fordham University student won a $1,250 cash scholarship along with a $200 prize for Miss Congeniality.
Annie Wilson, 21, won second runner-up, which came with a $1,000 cash scholarship. She attends the Chicago Professional School of Psychology.
Tara Lynn Steele, 18, won third runner-up. She received a $750 cash scholarship. Steele, who also won the preliminary talent award for $500, attends the University of Alabama.
The fourth runner-up was Whitley Cooper, 22, who attends Kennesaw State University. She won a $500 scholarship.
For the past 16 years, the Miss Cobb pageant has been recognized as one of the top cash scholarship programs in the Miss Georgia pageant system, according to officials.
This year, the pageant awarded more the $25,000 in scholarships and prizes.