Leighton Jordan won the statewide pageant in Columbus, grabbing a $15,000 scholarship and a chance to compete in the Miss America pageant in January.
“I feel blessed,” she said told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on Sunday. “I know some people may feel that at my age I am not ready to handle this job but they should not underestimate me. I am prepared and ready to get to work.”
Jordan beat out 32 other contestants for the crown with a ballet routine. She wants to attend Georgia State University to study nursing, eventually hoping to become a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner. Jordan was previously crowned Miss Capital City.
The home school student began studying ballet at age 2 and was accepted into the Houston Ballet in Texas at age 15 and the Royal Ballet in London, but had to stop dancing after repeated ankle injuries.
She will travel the state over the next year promoting support for special needs children and their siblings. Jordan’s older brother has cerebral palsy, as well as epilepsy.
“He taught me about unconditional love,” she said. “People can be mean to him and he still wants to hug them.”
The first runner-up in the pageant was Miss Georgia Cotton, Carly Mathis, and the second runner-up was Miss Atlanta, Briana Jewett.
The third runner-up was Miss Peachtree, Lauren Edmonds, and the fourth runner-up was Miss Gwinnett County, Annie Walker.
Jameson Kenerly was named Miss Georgia’s Outstanding Teen.
The pageant was Wednesday with the crowning on Saturday.