0

'Knight Under the Stars' pageant crowns queen

Staff Photo: John Bohn Tom Johnson, right, acts as master of ceremonies of the "Knights Under The Stars" pageant held Friday at Life Care Center of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville. Pageant contestant Jempline Flemming, sits at left, while the winner of the pageant, Nettie Hicks is at center. Escorting the women are "Knights" Brandon Carr, rear center and Chance Tanner, right rear.

Staff Photo: John Bohn Tom Johnson, right, acts as master of ceremonies of the "Knights Under The Stars" pageant held Friday at Life Care Center of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville. Pageant contestant Jempline Flemming, sits at left, while the winner of the pageant, Nettie Hicks is at center. Escorting the women are "Knights" Brandon Carr, rear center and Chance Tanner, right rear.

photo

Staff Photo: John Bohn Nettie Hicks shows her surprise at winning the medieval-themed "Knights Under the Stars" pageant at Life Care Center of Gwinnett Friday. The pageant contestants were escorted on stage by "Knights" from

Video

"Knights Under the Stars" pageant

"Knights Under the Stars" pageant at Life Care Center of Gwinnett on March 23, 2012.

"Knights Under the Stars" pageant at Life Care Center of Gwinnett on March 23, 2012.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Life Care Center of Gwinnett was transformed into a medieval castle Friday afternoon complete with stone walls, faux torches with flames and four strapping young knights from Medieval Times escorting contestants for the annual beauty pageant.

This year, "Lady" Nettie Hicks took home the coveted title at the "A Knight Under the Stars" pageant.

The staff at the center has been working on the event since September, buying decorations, finding volunteers and selecting contestants.

"This is one of our biggest events of the year," Cindy Long of Life Care Center said. "We plan a lot through the year because this is a lot of fun for us and our residents."

Besides the year-round staff, Long needed some extra help with the pageant. Lucky for her, Gina Carpenter was more than willing to volunteer her students from the Grayson High School in the technical program for the task.

"I approached the center about helping," she said. "Many of our students participate in an internship program here, so this is our way of giving back to the center."

Since 7:30 a.m. Friday morning, more than 60 students cleaned, decorated and set up for the hour-long event. By the end of the pageant, around 3:30 p.m., there were still approximately 20 students lingering around to see who won.

"They're still here volunteering on a Friday afternoon after school has let out," Carpenter said. "They absolutely love this event."

The eight contestants, Margaret Abraham, Ruth Anderson, Jemoline Fleming, Hicks, Dorothy Lugo, Cora Manuel, Catherine Shearon, and Floreide Smith rolled up to the stage -- with the help of the knights -- to be introduced to the crowd.

As part of the competition, emcee Tom Johnson asked all of the women one question for the judges to listen to before making their decision.

The judges included Loganville City Councilman Skip Baliles, Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services Chief Bill Myers, Grayson High School Assistant Principal Jennifer Fero, and Life Care Centers of America's Blue Ridge Region Director of Rehab Services Cheryl Wolfe.

After 10 minutes of deliberation, Hicks was announced as the 2012 winner and went back to her room with roses, a trophy and tiara.

"I don't know how I'm feeling," she said with tears in her eyes. "Thank y'all."