Walter and Janice Lee always knew their oldest daughter would do great things.
“When I would introduce her, I used to always tell people she was destined for greatness,” Walter Lee said of his daughter, Amber.
And though she asked him not to tell that story, the old saying “father knows best” could not be more true in their case.
On July 5, 18-year-old Amber Lee was named the 2009 National American Teen Miss Georgia at the Atlanta Hilton.
Selected from 126 other finalists, the 2008 Dawson County High School graduate will represent Georgia later this year at the National American Teen Miss pageant in Hollywood, Calif.
“I’m just so honored the judges chose me to be the girl to represent all of Georgia in nationals,” said Amber Lee, who now attends North Georgia College & State University, where she is a basketball cheerleader.
Designed for “today’s girl” and “tomorrow’s leaders,” the National American Miss pageants are based on inner beauty, as well as poise and presentation.
They emphasize the importance of building self-confidence and gaining new skills, as well as personal growth and developing good attitudes about competition.
In Lee’s search for pageants — she placed in the three previous competitions she entered — National American Miss seemed the ideal fit.
“They were looking for confidence, and I kept making the judges laugh,” Amber Lee said. “I knew I had won before they called my name because all the judges were looking right at me.”
She said she reached the level of confidence needed to succeed in the pageant during a recent six-month internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
“I can do this,” Lee recalled telling herself before going on stage. “I worked at Disney. I can do anything.”
Working as a marketing intern at Disney not only gave her the confidence she needed to win the pageant, it also fulfilled another dream.
“When I was growing up, I always told people I would work for Disney, and I always wanted to represent Georgia in a national pageant,” she said. “This has been the best year of my life. This whole year has been a dream come true.”
As the 2009 National American Miss Georgia Teen, Amber Lee will represent Georgia nationally and at home.
The Dawson County native is scheduled to appear at several local civic and fundraising events over the next few months, including the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame induction ceremony in October.
She also is involved in KARE for Kids and the Make a Wish Foundation.
“I want to be the most involved queen,” Amber Lee said.
For Walter Lee, his daughter has always been his princess.
“She has exceeded my wildest expectations,” he said.
E-mail Michele Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org.