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Cayce native is crowned Miss Lexington Teen

Cayce, SC - Cayce native Ashleigh Smith is no stranger to the Miss South Carolina Teen stage. In 2016 she was named a top 15 finalist and in 2018 she won the Miss South Carolina Teen Media Award and Overall Community Service Award. Now the 17-year old Airport High School student will hit the Township Auditorium stage again as Miss Lexington Teen this summer with hopes of bringing home the state's most prestigious crown.

The pageant is the sister pageant of the Miss South Carolina pageant. The winner advances to the Miss America's Outstanding Teen pageant which is held in August in Orlando, Florida. Smith's platform is "Ready to Love" which is a platform she created to raise awareness of foster care. Smith is very passionate about her platform and looks to make a difference in not only Lexington County, but throughout the state of South Carolina. She has just recently created her own non-profit organization with hopes of raising money to support foster families who need assistance in buying items like diapers and other clothing items.

"There are 4,500 kids in the state of South Carolina who need families to foster and adopt them," Smith said. " Many people think they won’t be adequate foster parents or be able to afford to care for them. The truth is, as a foster parent, you just need to be ready to love." With Valentine's Day right around the corner, Smith plans to hold a dinner at the Nancy K. Perry Shelter and use local media to help promote her platform.

Representing Lexington is something that Smith is very proud of and she is ready to prove her worth to the citizens of the Lexington and her home county. She has already volunteered at the Snowball Festival this past December and ridden the Lexington Christmas parade.

"Being able to represent the town of Lexington is an honor, and I am most excited to continue to develop my platform, but also to volunteer more in the Lexington community," Smith said. " I have enjoyed everything so far, and I can’t wait to continue to do even more service."

One of the things Smith enjoys about competing at the state level is the growth she has seen within herself. The week is very strenuous on the contestants as they go through private interview, three preliminary nights of competition, and the finals night. They also have long rehearsals and make several appearances throughout the week.

"I have grown so much every year that I have gone back to Miss South Carolina Teen. Every year, I meet more awesome teenage women, and we are able to grow so close throughout the week," Smith said. " It is an awesome experience, and it's very rewarding to do well in the pageant, but the main highlight and motivation to go back is that this pageant is fun. I enjoy every moment, even when I am sleep deprived."

Throughout her years of competing in the Miss America Organization Smith said she has been given so many wonderful opportunities. This organization means everything to me, and I have been given so many opportunities," Smith said. " This organization has given me outlets to speak about my platform, opportunities to do even more community service, and the ability to grow as a person. I have learned to express myself and grown in confidence."

Smith is the daughter of Charles and Debbie Smith of Cayce and her Local Executive Director for the Miss Lexington Teen Pageant is Ebony Bowers.

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