Former Gwinnett resident tries for Miss America crown

On Monday night, a former Miss Gwinnett competed in the Miss America pageant. Though Kate Michael, who competed as Miss District of Columbia, didn't win, she came closer to taking the national title than any other pageant winner from the county. In fact, she was the first former Miss Gwinnett to compete in Miss America.

The pageant, which was shown on CMT, was held at the Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. The Miss America crown was awarded to Miss Oklahoma, Lauren Nelson.

Though she competed in the pageant as Miss District of Columbia rather than Miss Georgia, Michael still has strong ties to her home state. She graduated from Parkview High School and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia.

Michael now works and attends graduate school in Washington, D.C. She was named Miss District of Columbia in July 2006. Michael began entering pageants as a way to earn scholarship money. Since she began competing, she has won $12,000 in scholarship funds.

Staff writer Melissa Wilson contributed to this report.