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Hartzog setting sights on teen title

Sarah Diane Hartzog is a performer. It’s just that simple.

The 16-year-old Mississippi School of Arts student from SilverCreek lives to be on stage, acting out the character roles ofdifferent plays. She guesses she’s been in about 10 plays sofar.

So it comes as no surprise that Hartzog, daughter of Greg andJeanna Hartzog, is excited to be in the spotlight again in the 2006Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on June 28.

But instead of acting under the guise of a theatrical role, thistime Hartzog’s own beauty, personality and talent will be ondisplay.

“I love being on the stage for anything,” she said. “Other kidsdo sports, but I like to do plays.”

Hartzog has competed in a few local and high school pageants andhas competed twice in the Miss Teen Southwest pageant, she said.When she found out that the Miss Outstanding Teen pageant had amore in-depth interview and fitness wear and talent competitions,she became interested in it, too.

She said she has a lot of fun competing in pageants, but sheunderstands that winning isn’t everything.

“Every girl likes to dress up and feel like a princess,” shesaid. “There’s a little bit, at least on my part, of friendlycompetition. But it’s never really been about winning for me.”

Hartzog, who will begin her senior year of high school in thefall, plans to major in theatre in college. She is undecided onwhere she plans to attend college, but she said she is looking atschools in big cities with professional theaters.

“I still have enough time left that I can dream big: NYU,Emerson, Yale,” she said.

Hartzog aspires to pursue acting well into her future.

She said it would be a dream to star on Broadway or in film. Buteven if that doesn’t become a reality, Hartzog will be content ifshe can find some way to be on stage.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to make a career out ofacting, but I want to continue acting somehow, somewhere, even ifit’s just community theatre wherever I live,” she said.

And appropriately enough, Hartzog’s platform for the upcomingpageant focuses on the arts.

With “Continuing Our Arts Tradition,” Hartzog aims to providechildren with the chance to participate in and learn about thearts. She said Mississippi already has a great tradition ofexcelling in the arts, and she wants that to continue.

She most recently spoke to the Lawrence County chapter of theBoys and Girls Club about acting and the importance of proficientpublic speaking. She also directed a play that some children fromher community performed at the Boys and Girls Club. And she hopesto continue her involvement with the organization.

At MSA, Hartzog is a member of the art ambassadors, a group thatworks with the recruiting and admissions staff and gives tours ofthe campus to prospective students. She also served as a non-votingmember of the student government association and worked on the highschool yearbook, taking photographs and designing pages.

And like her school involvement, her hobbies encompass a varietyof areas, too. She enjoys crocheting and cake decorating, and sherecently learned to cross-stitch.

But the craft Hartzog has honed and nurtured is acting, and shehopes to build a foundation for her life around that passion.