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Emily Cook

Emily Cook

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Then came the question that would transform Cook's day — and year — from leisure to whirlwind: "Things have changed.

Would you like to be Miss Georgia?"Her instant answer was yes.

"My face got redder and redder," said Cook, 22.

"I was just waking up.

I was delirious."They turned the car around and came back to Columbus.

"This better not be some cruel practical joke," said Cook, describing her emotions in retrospect.It wasn't.

After winning the Miss Georgia title Saturday night at the RiverCenter's Bill Heard Theatre, Miss Capital City Kristina Higgins told pageant officials Sunday morning she wanted to relinquish the crown."She just didn't think that she could fulfill the duties," said Billy Kendall, secretary for the Miss Georgia Board of Trustees.

It's the second time this scenario has happened in the history of the Miss Georgia pageant, Kendall added, the first being in the early 1990s.In a statement, 24-year-old Higgins suggested her duties as a middle school teacher could interfere with the time commitment that comes with being Miss Georgia."Due to my current job responsibilities as a middle school teacher and the responsibilities and time commitment as Miss Georgia, I have decided to not fulfill the duties of Miss Georgia 2009.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been chosen as Miss Georgia and fully support the system and wish Emily Cook the best of luck," Higgins said in the statement.When asked about how the scholarship money would be awarded, pageant spokeswoman Amy Gant said the Miss Georgia organization is examining the situation.So, in her shorts and T-shirt, Miss Cobb County took on a yearlong role as Miss Georgia.

An official crowning ceremony will happen in the near future, but for now Cook said she's happy with the unconventional sequence of events."My life would not be my life if it wasn't a little outside the box," Cook said.Cook is a graduate of the University of Miami.

She's been accepted and plans to obtain a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law.

She was the first recipient of the S.

Davis Laney Legal Studies Scholarship and was the evening wear winner in last Thursday's preliminary competition.

Her talent in the Miss Georgia pageant was oboe; she played "Carmen Fantasy."Cook was a regional semi-finalist for the 2009 Rhodes Scholarship.

She enjoys activities like golfing and rock climbing.On Sunday afternoon, Cook was still processing her new honor but said she was happy to hold the title."Disbelief is pretty much the only way I can put it," she said.

"I'm so excited, and I can't wait to see what the next year brings."Cook will represent Georgia at the Miss America competition in January.

Chasity Hardman, Miss Georgia 2008, was first runner-up in the Miss America contest.Cook will also devote time to her platform, breast cancer awareness in young women."We take our own health for granted," she said.

"It's all about just taking care of yourself."With an unexpectedly busy calendar in front of her, Cook knows her Miss Georgia story is a testament to the power of a dream."I guess that it just shows even more that it can happen to anyone," Cook said.This year's Miss Georgia Outstanding Teen, Brianna Godshalk, also represents Cobb County.
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