Tara Grinstead is a special person

Published: Nov. 2, 2005 at 10:16 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 4, 2005 at 11:28 PM EST
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November 2, 2005

Ocilla-- Friends and family say Tara Grinstead is a lovable person and respected member of the Ocilla community. She's a devoted and well-liked 11th grade History teacher at Irwin County High School.

We've seen her picture and watched video of her singing in beauty pageants, but today Tara Grinstead's best friend, Maria Hulett told us that Tara is much more than a pretty face.

Thirty-year-old Tara Grinstead's passion for history didn't end at her classroom door. She loves to visit museums and historical buildings, and she even has a dog named Dolly Madison and a cat named Herman Talmadge.

She was Miss Tifton 1999 and loves to sing. She did an interview with the Fun Channel in Tifton before leaving for Miss Georgia. "I've worked on my interview, exercised, shopped for lots of clothes and just tried to get prepared for my week at Miss Georgia," she said in the interview.

She's still involved with pageantry, coaching young competitors. The night she disappeared, she had helped contestants with their hair and make-up for a pageant in Fitzgerald.

"She loved doing hair and make-up for girls in pageant, and she loved going to pageants to see them because she was a pageant queen," said Dana Wilder.

"She always taught me to never give up, be confident and determined," says Lindy Luke.

She's a member of First Baptist church of Hawkinsville, where she grew up. She was a cheerleader at Hawkinsville High School and then went on to Middle Georgia College to become a teacher. Grinstead got her Masters in Education from Valdosta State University in 2003 and is working on her doctorate. She moved to Ocilla to teach at Irwin County High in 1998.

At the time of the Fun Channel interview, she had just completed her first year of teaching. "I'm an 11th grade history teacher at Irwin County High School. I also have a cheerleading squad of Junior Varsity cheerleaders. I just completed my first year of teaching, and I love every bit of it," Grinstead said in the interview.

She also works as a part time administrator at Irwin County Middle School. Friends say Grinstead loves to exercise, drink Diet Coke with grenadine, collects Barbies, and loves 80's music, especially Bon Jovi.

She is single, her friends said she had recently broken up with a boyfriend. She was never married. Her friends says she is happy, compassionate and kind, and they miss her very much.

Tara's best friend Maria Hulett asks you to continue to pray for Tara, and begs anyone with information to call authorities.

Tara Grinstead also helped coach the cheerleading squad at Irwin County High School, and many of her students are helping search for her.