story by karlee collins photos by tonya chester perry
When Megan’s mom entered her in her first pageant as a toddler, she had no idea how far that journey would go. “My mom put me in because she thought I was cute,” Megan Johnson laughs. “She never thought I would take it this far.” Now, Megan is a part of the Miss America Organization which has opened many doors of opportunity for her. “What I like about the Miss America Organization is that it’s very service involved and their main goal is philanthropy,” Megan explains.
Through the organization, she has developed a platform for the Ronald McDonald House and has been able to contribute to the overarching platform of the Miss America Organization which gives to the Children’s Miracle Network. “What I like about the Miss America Organization too is that they are the number one provider of scholarships for women,” she continues. School and service are two important areas in Megan’s life and through her involvement in the organization, she is able to develop in both aspects.
Megan’s journey began after winning many local titles, like Miss Strawberry Festival, Miss Relay for Life and her favorite Miss Flying Pig. “I love telling people that I was Miss Flying Pig!” she laughs. At thirteen, Megan won a pageant that had a monetary prize and decided that she would continue to do these as a way to pay for her future schooling. Megan won South Effingham High School’s scholarship pageant, and there was no turning back from there. “I am currently Miss Middle West Georgia. I’m going back to Miss Georgia again in a few months.” Megan says. “So yeah, little titles progressed into big ones.” Those “big” pageants are not easy competition.
Megan has high praise for all the women
that are working toward the wider scale
titles: “These women are some of the smartest, brightest most intelligent young women I’ve ever met and they’re confident.” She is well-deserving to be right in the mix with them all.
The titles and scholarships are a big part of Megan’s love for the Miss America Organization, but more importantly, she is passionate about the work that she is able to do for her platform, the Ronald McDonald House. She got started with the Ronald McDonald House in the 2015-2016 school year when she was elected RMH chair for her sorority. “I was able to be the liaison between the Savannah chapter and Alpha Delta Pi,” Megan says. “It was a little bit of everything. It was the planning, the fundraising, as well as the collecting items.” From there, Megan fell in love with the outreach of RMH, and she decided that it was the platform she wanted. She says, “I love being in the social services aspect of it.” She has done things like coordinate and serve meals and work to plan fundraising events. She enjoys working hard in service of others.
In addition to her personal platform for the Ronald McDonald House, Megan has the opportunity to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network alongside the rest of the Miss America Organization. “We also have a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Savannah,” she says. “I’m able to work with them as well as through the Ronald McDonald house which is awesome because I get to do two platforms at once.” In the past ten years, Children’s Miracle Network Hospital has received approximately 30 million dollars in funds from Miss America Organization’s work and generosity. Megan gets to be a part of this legacy. She says, “What I get from my donors stays local. It goes to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital here in Georgia.” The money raised by Megan and her colleagues goes toward totally funding the hospital. “Making sure the staff gets paid, the training gets paid for, any medical supplies they might need…
everything the children need to recover, that’s what that money goes toward,” she says.
Amidst the bustle of her philanthropy and pageant title winning, Megan’s scholarships are paying off as she double majors at Georgia Southern University. She is both a nursing major and a sociology major. “I finished my nursing prerequisites my sophomore year in college and I never applied to the nursing program. I was always too scared to, but then I realized, at the time, I really love sociology. I love pre-law, and I love social services. I love advocating. I love politics,” she explains. “When I graduate, I’m either going to law school or I’m going to nursing school, and I really have not decided yet.” She is passionate about both things. As a people person, Megan feels that both avenues of work are a fit for her. After graduation in December of this year, she will move forward in her career path. Wherever she lands, her passion for service is sure to make her shine.
Although school is her main priority, Megan has one more interest that takes up a portion of her time. She works as a florist assistant for a company in Statesboro which is another profession that she could see herself in for a long time. “I work at a flower shop, and they’re really well known. We do a lot of events in South Carolina, in Atlanta, in Florida, and I so enjoy working with them,” she says. She loves weddings and event planning, and this is another area where Megan’s social personality gets a spotlight. “What I love about a flower shop is you get to work with someone with every major event of their life, whether that be a birth, a wedding, or a death. You’re able to provide something to those families, a memory. It’s an important aspect of every life event,” she shares.
Megan has a life full of commitments, but she says the key to doing it all is balance. “It’s busy. It’s a lot of breakdowns. It’s a lot of balance. School comes first. I know that,” she explains. “It’s a busy schedule but I love it. I’d rather be busy than not doing anything at all.” Megan’s schedule keeps school as the main priority with work, service, fundraising, and pageants all falling in closely behind. Spare time is a gem for her. “My schedule is always busy but I love it when I can have some down time,” she shares. For her, quality relaxation includes lots of watching Netflix and napping in the sorority house with her sisters. She also enjoys going to the beach and planning vacations that she does not have time to take. Taking time to rest is just as important as getting everything completed on her “to do” lists. “I can make spare time,” she says.
“You don’t have to have it all together,” Megan shares. “I’m everywhere all the time. If it looks like I have it all together great, but when you really get to know me everything is everywhere all the time,” she says. She is not ashamed of this either. In fact, she attributes these things as part of what makes her unique “My bedroom is a mess. My clothes are always wrinkled. But that’s what makes me, me! And I still manage to get it all done!” She may feel like a mess, but she is able to be successful in all of her activities. She is a wonderful example of hard work and caring about the service of others.