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Waycross Coed Selected as Ms. ABAC 2013

TIFTON—A blue-eyed junior from Waycross who admits she has a “special place in her heart” for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College was crowned Ms. ABAC 2013 in the recent ceremony in Howard Auditorium.

Kristen Ray, a Rural Studies major with an emphasis in Social and Community Development, said that when her name was called by Master of Ceremonies Mike Chason, “I was in complete shock.”

“I was out there just to have fun,” Ray, a 20-year-old with a vivacious personality, said.  “I was standing there and finally I told myself, ‘you better walk up there and get that crown.’”

Ray also won the Essay Award in the competition, which was sponsored by the ABAC Ag Business Club.  Other finalists were first runner-up Sara O’Neal, a freshman Rural Studies (Writing and Communication) major from Tifton; second runner-up Jessie Still, a sophomore Journalism and Mass Media major from Blakely; third runner-up Kristen Card, a junior Biology major from Cordele; and fourth runner-up Erica Tucker, a freshman Middle Grades Education major from Tifton.

Card won the Interview Award, and Caitlyn Asbell, a junior Early Childhood Education major from Gray, won the Ms. Congeniality Award.  Rae Evans, a sophomore Early Childhood Education major from Hawkinsville, received the People’s Choice Award.

Ray said she wants to represent ABAC “to the best of my ability and be a positive influence for other students on campus.  I was going to transfer last year after I graduated with my associate degree but I just couldn’t leave. I have a special place in my heart for ABAC.”

Ray plans to graduate from ABAC with her bachelor’s degree in Rural Studies in May, 2014.  She has lived on campus in ABAC Lakeside and ABAC Place her entire college career and loves the convenience of being in the center of all the activity.

“The rooms are nice, and I know all my roommates really well,” Ray, who was sponsored by the Rural Studies Club, said.  “They call me ‘Paula Deen Junior’ because she’s my favorite cook.  They swear I am in love with butter.  I love some country cooking and Southern food.  Mama is the one that taught me.”

The daughter of Randy and Sharon Ray from Waycross said coming to ABAC was “one of the best decisions of her life.”

Two months before she graduated from Bacon County High School in 2010, she planned to run cross country at another college.  One trip to ABAC altered that course.

“Within 10 minutes of walking on the campus, I told my mom, ‘let’s go buy a t-shirt,’” Ray said. “Everyone here made me feel welcome.”