by Lisa Tome
Her outward beauty earned Courtney Forman the title of America's Miss for both the local area and the Northeast region.
Her inner beauty makes her a hero for literacy advocates.
Forman, 9, daughter of Kevin and Stacie Forman of Elkton, recently collected a pair of pageant titles - she was named America's Miss Elkton in a local pageant and for the regional, America's Miss of the Northeast region. She is a student at Gilpin Manor Elementary School.
America's Miss pageant mimics the Miss America pageant. In addition to the typical pageant performance categories, Forman is also judged on scholarship and service as well as an interview.
Forman aced the service category.
Her mom, Stacie, explained that the family tries to help others. "We help people who need help. It's hard for kids who have everything to realize (what's it's like to go without)," Stacie Forman said.
Courtney collected books - mainly children's books - but others also. As of last week, she was at 1,200 and counting. Some of the books went to the Cecil County Department of Social Services last week. Some went to the Maryland Book Bank. Others went to North East Elementary School for children in need. The ones taken to North East Elementary will be placed at local laundromats.
The books were collected from family members and friends. Both of Courtney's parents are teachers at Perryville High. They also collected from former students. The books were sorted at the family home and then boxed for distribution.
"I help kids with no books. Parents have to make a choice to buy books or food. They choose food so they can live," said Forman, who also volunteers with A Buddy for Life.
She collected a trophy, crown, $100 scholarship, and other gifts for the regional pageant win.
Last week, Courtney began giving some of her collected books away.
Lisa Lowe, North East Elementary principal gratefully accepted Forman's book donations. Lowe explained that the books will go to the laundromats in North East and Perryville in cooperation with an International Reading Association program. Laundromat Literacy encourages parents to read to their children while waiting for their laundry. The books may also be taken home.
"I'm so delighted she chose to give these books to us. I am so grateful she chose us. Children are our future," said Lowe.
On Labor Day weekend, Forman will compete for the national America's Miss title.
Anyone who wants to donate books, particularly children's books, may contact Stacie Forman at email@example.com.