The Big Six: In their own words: Who will win the title of Miss Destin?

Special to The Log
From left to right, Natalie Lawson, Caroline Oswalt, Hannah Gord, Cassie Roby, Bailey Rathmann, Erin Groth are vying for the title of Miss Destin. Reigning royalty, Miss Destin 2012 Callie Kaltz stands in the middle of the six pack.

There are six girls, but there’s only one crown.

Pageant season has begun for the girls who are vying to be Miss Destin. At stake is $2,000 in scholarship money, the tiara, sash and Rodeo responsibility of posing with hundreds of fish and anglers in the 65th Destin Fishing Rodeo, which runs all October long.

On Wednesday, organizers kicked off the contest at the Destin History & Fishing Museum with the annual soda party.

Next up for the six girls is a harbor cruise on The Southern Star. The 2013 Miss Destin Pageant is set for Saturday April 20, 2013 at the Destin Community Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Without further ado, let’s meet the girls.

Name: Hannah Rose Gord

Age: 16

Grade: 11th

GPA: 3.9

Parents: Bruce and Tracee Gord

Schools attended are Destin Elementary School, Destin Middle School and Fort Walton Beach High School.

My “full time” job is studying and also I enjoy babysitting. Most of my free time is spent at Destin United Methodist Church, where I am a very active member. I was blessed to travel with a group from DUMC on a mission trip to Haiti last summer. I enjoy jet skiing and boating and going to the docks with my dad to watch the charter boats come in with their catch of the day.

I have lived in Destin my entire life. I plan to enjoy my senior year while focusing on the exciting challenges ahead of me. I am excited about taking trips to visit colleges in the South to decide where I would like to attend.

My goals and ambitions are to be happy and content with my choices in life. I want to attend the University of Florida and study pediatric medicine.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2013 because it would be an honor to share the history of Destin and the importance of our fishing industry with tourists and locals. I have grown up hearing “fish tales” of Destin, and it has always been a dream of mine to be Miss Destin. As a little girl, I dressed up as Miss Destin multiple times for Halloween and always went to the dock to have my picture taken with her.

I believe I would be a good Miss Destin because I would treat the honor with great respect and be fully committed. Plus, I love to fish and I am not afraid to gut the fishies … should Weighmaster Bruce ask me to assist him.

I am very active in  the leadership program at Fort Walton Beach High School where I have more than 400 community service hours and counting. I was elected Class Treasurer of my junior class. I hold the office of vice president for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes club. I am in the Beta Club as well as the National Honors Society. I am the vice chairman of the Destin City Youth Council. We are known as the cities brightest. At this time we are currently helping the library develop their new addition of a teen space.

Name: Erin Groth

Age: 16

Grade: 11th

GPA: Non-weighted 3.66; weighted 3.86

Parents: Jeremy Groth and Tami Groth

I attended Saint Mary’s grades K-5, Destin Middle School and Fort Walton Beach High School.

I worked at San Gelato on the harbor 2009-2011 and AJ’s in 2012.

Most of my time is spent playing beach volleyball with my friends, doing volunteer work, working and studying. I have lived in Destin for 12 years.

Next year I plan to finish my senior year and dual enroll in college.

I would really like to earn my degree in law studies or dietetics and then come back to Destin and set up an office here to grow my own business.

Ever since I was little I’ve always looked up to Miss Destin and aspired to be just like her. I want to be the girl that other little girls look up to. I’ve been able to accomplish so much in my life, and I want other little girls to be able to be as successful as me. I also want to show my support for the very men who built this community.

I’ve lived in Destin for 12 years and have grown up on the docks fishing. Almost every year since I’ve lived here, my father and I have entered the fishing rodeo, and it has become a huge part of my life. I’ve also worked down at the harbor since the week after I turned 15, and come to love the family atmosphere down there. I also believe I represent what

Miss Destin should represent — someone who has strong values, a hard worker (both in and out of school), and someone who is dedicated.

Being Miss Destin has always been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember, but never have I ever believed I had the opportunity. I’ve always been extremely overweight and I figured because of this I could never be Miss Destin.

Over the past year I was able to lose 40 pounds. Although I haven’t reached my goal, I feel more confident now. I want other girls who are struggling like me to realize they can accomplish anything they put their mind to and they don’t have to be a size zero to amount to anything they would like to be. I want people to understand that beauty isn’t a number, but an attitude.

Name: Natalie Lawson

Age: 16

Grade: 11th

GPA: 4.25

Parents: Chuck and Mia Lawson

I attended Destin Elementary, Destin Middle School and Fort Walton Beach High School.

I am self-employed with my babysitting and pet-sitting business.

Most of my time is spent doing school and community service work and cheerleading.

I have lived in Destin for 10 years.

Next year I plan to make the best of my senior year by succeeding academically, representing my school by winning another consecutive national championship, bettering the surrounding community with my increased responsibility on the multiple service projects my leadership class performs and commiting to a university to further my academic and professional career.

My goals and ambitions are to major in veterinary medicine and minor in astronomical biology. That will lead me to become a zoo veterinarian and discover life on other worlds.

After graduating college, I plan to hike the entire Appalachian Trail.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2013 because I love where I live and I am proud to be a member of the Destin community. I want to help represent all that is good about Destin and share it with others.

I believe I would be a good Miss Destin because I would embody and portray the true spirit of a Destin local. Representing the title everywhere I go would be a privilege, an honor and a priority.

I am a junior at Fort Walton Beach High School. I’m a two time high school cheerleading National champion. Along with my athletic success, I have been a three time Viking scholar and currently a member in the National Honors Society.

The service clubs I participate in are Viking Lady’s and Spirit Club. These clubs help promote school spirit year round. I am also involved in the leadership program at the high school which provides us with community service projects like feeding the homeless and Christmas Connections. Aside from school related community service, I volunteer for the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge. I work as a second shooter for a professional photographer. We take photos for beach portraits, weddings and events. I not only live at the beach, but I get to work at and help preserve its beauty as well.

Name: Caroline Oswalt

Age: 17

Grade: 11th

GPA: 3.6927

Parents: Amy and Greg Oswalt

I attended Destin Elementary, Destin Middle and Fort Walton Beach High School.

I worked at Learning Express in 2011 and Yogurt Mountain, Marble and Sugar Baby’s in 2012.

Most of my time is spent doing advanced placement homework and studying, but also volunteering, attending youth at church and playing tennis.

I have lived in Destin for my entire life.

Next year I plan to graduate from FWBHS and attend Auburn University.

My goals and ambitions are to complete medical school and become a dermatologist. I also hope to raise a family in Destin.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2013 because I have lived in Destin my entire life and love the beaches, the harbor and the people who are a part of the community. I know I would be a great representative of Destin. I’m very outgoing and charismatic. I enjoy meeting new people and I have never met a stranger. Our community is really special to me and it would be a great honor for me to serve as Miss Destin.

I love the outdoors and enjoy cobia fishing with my dad on his boat every spring and attending the weigh-ins at the harbor.

I have been a competitive tennis player since middle school, but suffered an injury this season. Not being able to play has given me the opportunity to spend more time working in the community, such as volunteering at the elementary school Valentine dance.

I love taking challenging courses at school and have been an advanced placement student since freshman year.

Name: Bailey Kathryn Rathmann

Age: 17

Grade: 11th

GPA: 4.3974

Parents: DJ and Michelle Rathmann

I attended Florosa Elementary, Destin Middle School and Fort Walton Beach High School.

I work at Bruster’s Ice Cream Shop.

Most of my time is spent doing activities that further my academic studies, activities and clubs at FWBHS, community service projects, church, and going to the beach hanging out with my friends.

I have lived in Destin for 15 years.

My goals and ambitions are to attend a four year university where I will major in engineering. Upon graduation, I want to return to this area and work at Eglin AFB in the engineering field.

I would like to be Miss Destin 2013 because it would be a great honor to represent the “fishing village” I have lived, worshiped, studied, worked and played in since I was two years old. I love to go fishing with my dad and his friends. From an early age, I was taught to swim, snorkel, bait a hook, cast a line and cook the catch of the day. My parents say I have saltwater in my veins.

My first ballet recital actually took place on the stage where we will compete. I was 4 years old. I danced for 11 years with the Ballet Conservatory.  I also began gymnastics at that time with U.S. Gold. I began competitive cheerleading seven years ago as well. I was a cheerleader at DMS and I am currently a cheerleader at FWBHS. Our cheer team has won two state titles, two national titles, and placed second at worlds.

Outside of school I have gone on a mission trip to Mexico with my church to work at an orphanage. We also went out to the most destitute parts around the town to feed people.

That trip forever changed me. I have never known poverty like these people experience every day of their life.

Here at home I have participated in community service as well through the Leadership program at FWBHS. I helped with Christmas Connection, attended leadership conferences, hosted a welcome party for new students, helped with school and classroom cleanup at Destin Elementary, mentored elementary students to prepare for FCAT, ArtSmart for fifth graders, raised money for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and volunteered at the Destin Seafood Festival.

Name: Cassie M. Roby

Age: 16

Grade: 10th

GPA: 4.0

Parents: John and Christi Roby

I attended Butler Elementary, Destin Middle, and Niceville High School.

I am an all Star Twirlers assistant coach.

Most of my time is spent practicing baton twirling and coaching twirling to new students. I compete yearly in competitions here in Florida so I am twirling every day during the spring and summer. I am also a majorette at Niceville High School. We perform at football games and local parades and practice every day at school during the fall.

I have lived in Destin seven years.

Next year I plan to be a part of the National Honor Society at Niceville High school as well as other clubs and activities such as Key Club and the Eagle Pride Band. I also wish to maintain my high GPA. I plan to continue donating my time to the Destin Middle School Marlinettes.

It would be an honor to become Miss Destin because I would love to represent all that Destin offers from the friendly people to the beautiful beaches and the best fishing. I love Destin because it is my home. I have an outgoing personality and I would love to share with other people all that this great town has to offer.

I would like the judges and the community to know that I have received the Anne T. Mitchell Honors award for the second year in a row. I have competed in the Miss NHS pageant the past two years and placed in the Top Ten and received the Miss People’s Choice award. In 2012, the Niceville High Eagle Pride Band and Majorettes traveled to NYC to march in the 86th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2011, I traveled to Notre Dame University and competed in the Americas Youth on Parade national competition and placed first in my division. I have continued to compete in the National Baton Twirling Association program and have won several other competitions and moved up to the next level.