03/30/08 — Here she is...

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Here she is...

By David Rouse
Published in News on March 30, 2008 1:58 PM

Although 10 women walked the stage of the newly rebuilt Paramount Theatre in their swimsuits and evening gowns Saturday night, only one could be crowned Miss Goldsboro 2008.

And this year, that crown and sash belongs to Lisa Mace.

Looking back, Miss Mace never thought she would be the one whose name was called last. But when she heard her contestant number called for the Desiree Autry Interview Award, and when she was named the winner of the Jill Suggs Howell Talent Award for her rhythmic swing tap dance, she would hear her name again that night.

The truth was, though, she never thought she would enter another pageant.

A former Miss Moore County, Lisa enjoyed her time in the pageant circuit, but never saw herself doing it again, until she had a few young voices asking her to.

For more than five years, she has been a teacher at A Step of Class, and after much prodding, her students finally convinced her to compete for this year’s title.

Goldsboro, she admits, is now a part of her life, a place she considers another home.

And now she is proud, and honored, to represent the city.

“It really feels great,” she said. “It is just amazing.”

After she stops seeing spots from all of the bright stage lights, lays down her roses and places the sparkly crown in a safe place, she will move on to where her heart is.

It isn’t being the star of parades, although that will be part of her duties.

It isn’t even holding the title, although she promises to represent the city well.

What Miss Mace really hopes to do with her newly earned crown is to help others, something she has already started to do.

Her platform is trying to integrate dance into school curriculum, an activity that she says increases standardized test scores as well as self-confidence.

“I want to lobby to the North Carolina legislature to get dance back into education,” she said. “On Monday, I am going to go to as many schools as I can and try to get them involved.”

But until Monday, she will just smile for pictures and enjoy her new victory.

“I’m really excited,” she said.

She has big shoes to fill.

But the 2007 Miss Goldsboro, Nicki Sanderson, has faith that her successor will treat the city she has represented for a year and five months right.

And as she passed her torch, she looked back on her own experience.

“It’s been an unforgettable experience for me, and I will always cherish it,” she said. “But I am very proud of Lisa. She is a very talented young woman, and I wish her a wonderful year.”

The night was also a time of memories for former Miss Goldsboros who were recognized during this year’s program.

For one in particular, the night was particularly special.

For Ann Beaman D’Agostino, current first runner-up for Miss Senior Georgia, the pageant marked the 40th year since her reign as Miss Goldsboro in 1968, a time when women couldn’t express themselves like they can today, she said.

“Girls are much freer now. When I was in it, we only had one-piece suits. The whole pageant concept has changed, but it is still a tremendous scholarship activity,” she said. “The poise they are going to gain and the ability to present themselves to the public are values they will now have.”

But she wasn’t just there to celebrate her own crown-wearing days.

She was also there to see her great niece, Heather Beaman, win first runner-up and the Kate Daniels Miss Congeniality Award.

“I’m so proud of her,” she said.

The night was also a celebration for second runner-up and winner of the Bridgett Mooring Swimsuit Award Marissa Phillips and People’s Choice Award and educational/public relations scholarship winner Emily Taylor.

Miss Goldsboro received a variety of gifts including jewelry and a gym membership.

First-time executive directors of the pageant Kate Daniels and Jay Sauls were excited for Miss Mace and congratulated all of the girls.

“We are thrilled to have such a talented young woman to represent our wonderful city,” Mrs. Daniels said.

“And we are so proud of all of our contestants and look forward to preparing for the Miss North Carolina pageant with our new Miss Goldsboro,” Sauls said.