HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The stars seemed to shine a little brighter on the night Cheryl Miller was crowned Hartsville High School's homecoming queen.
The announcement was made during halftime of the Oct. 21 football game between Hartsville and Crestwood. There was excitement and lots of congratulations from her classmates.
“I am proud and shocked,” Cheryl said afterward. “My family is so happy for me.”
When the announcement was made, Cheryl said, friends and fellow students began congratulating her and taking picture with her.
In addition, Logan Carpenter was crowned king. All of the girls were escorted by members of the ROTC. Cheryl’s escort was Daniel Smith.
The entire student body voted on their computers prior to the game, said her father, David Miller. She was in the running with several other students.
Her teacher, Jennifer Waldrop, said Cheryl is very active on campus. Cheryl works in the school store and with the prom closet, and she is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She attends most of the home football games and is an honorary cheerleader. She helps with the Miss and Mr. Hartsville High School contests. Outside of school, she is active with the youth at First Baptist Church.
“She is friendly, kind, speaks to everyone and does not meet a stranger,” Waldrop said. “I am very proud of her.”
Waldrop said she has been a special education teacher for more than 20 years, and her students are very special. She said they can accomplish anything they want to accomplish.
“Cheryl is a great example that anything is possible,” Waldrop said.
Waldrop said she hopes Cheryl will be an example for other students in her classroom and those getting ready to enter.
“We are very proud of her,” said Cheryl’s mother, Dorothy Miller. “We were totally amazed with the help she received from the cheerleaders.”
She said the cheerleaders, along with her teacher, helped to pick out her dress from the prom closet.
“They came to the house to do her makeup and hair,” she said.
“I was thrilled and stunned,” Waldrop said. “It was a group effort that nominated her and elected her.”
Cheryl said she has always wanted to be a princess, and when the crown was placed on her head, she felt just like a real princess.
Since the crowning, she has had her picture taken with Miss South Carolina at the high school. She is looking forward to wearing her crown again at the Hartsville Christmas Parade on Dec. 10. And when her year is up, she will crown a new homecoming queen.
Cheryl's parents are retired missionaries. She was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, and grew up in Africa.
Dorothy said by the time she was expecting Cheryl, they had already accepted an assignment as missionaries in Africa. She came back to the states to have their daughter.
“She was a preemie,” she said. “When she was 6 weeks old, we went back to Africa.”
They lived in Kenya and then in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“I went to kindergarten in Kenya,” Cheryl said.
The family moved to Hartsville about four years ago when the David and Dorothy retired as missionaries.
Dorothy said a picture popped up on the internet of a two-story house they liked in Hartsville, and they decided to visit. They liked the house, the community and the program that Hartsville High School offered for Cheryl.
They are all happy they chose Hartsville as their new home. David said that when an opportunity to go back to Africa came up, only one of them was in favor of it.
Cheryl said Hartsville is now home. She has made many friends. She is proud to represent her school as homecoming queen.
Cheryl also is looking forward to helping Coker College women’s basketball coach Shannon Johnson during the upcoming basketball season at halftime.
After high school, she hopes to attend Coastal Carolina’s life program. Her second choice is Clemson.