Distinguished Through the Decades: 2008, Paige Palmer Thorne
Progress 2022: Distinguished Through the Decades
When Red Bay’s Paige Palmer – now Thorne – served as a Little Sister for 2007 Junior Miss Lydia Hammock Freeman, it opened her eyes to the possibilities and the opportunities afforded by the competition.
“It really helped give so much insight into the program and what it had to offer,” said Thorne. “I also really loved my time being a part of it, so I decided to compete the next year.”
At Red Bay High School Thorne played tennis and was a cheerleader from seventh grade through her senior year. “I began taking dance and gymnastics at a young age, so cheering was my favorite extracurricular activity,” she said. “I was on a great squad with many close friends. We were all dedicated and worked really hard together. Cheering also allowed me many opportunities to travel, from New York to Orlando and even Australia and Hawaii, cheering for a United States football team in the Down Under Bowl.”
Thorne said the most challenging part of the Junior Miss experience was competing in Montgomery. “On the local level I had friends and family to help with the preparation, but when you leave for state, you are staying with a new roommate in a new home, and we weren’t allowed to use our cellphones,” Thorne noted. “I had not been away from my family for that long without being able to speak to them over the phone, so it was a brand-new experience, and it really helped me to become more independent.
“The letters and emails I received while I was away was one of the greatest gifts,” she added. “I am still thankful to those that took the time to send words of encouragement.”
Aside from making strong friendships with driven women from across the state, Thorne said the relationship she built with her house parents in Montgomery was one of the most memorable parts of the experience. “I was very blessed to have such a wonderful family to welcome me into their home,” she said. “It easily could’ve been overwhelming to be away from family and friends and living in a new house with new people, but my house parents could not have done a better job of making me feel at home.”
Thorne said she remembers Junior Miss as “the first time I truly learned to push myself and to not give up.”
“There were countless hours spent working and preparing. There were times it would have been easier to put it on hold and go hang out with friends, but I had to be dedicated and determined,” she said. “I also think the experience in Montgomery is one of the first times I genuinely felt a sense of independence … I learned I could do more on my own than I ever thought.”
Following her graduation from RBHS, Thorne attended the University of North Alabama and majored in biology.
“My husband Trenton and I were married in 2012. It was after we had our first daughter, Peyton, that I decided to go back to UNA and pursue a degree in nursing,” Thorne said. “I realized quickly how much I loved being a caretaker and a nurturer.”
She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UNA in 2016 and worked as a surgical nurse, “but I now stay at home with our children.” The family lives in Tuscumbia and includes – in addition to oldest daughter Peyton – daughter Reese and son Lane.
“My husband and I both come from very close-knit families, so we try to spend as much time as possible with family,” Thorne said. “We also love spending time with friends and our church family. We enjoy attending sporting events as a family. Our kids like to visit the Muscle Shoals library, and the girls are currently taking gymnastics.”
When her children are older, Thorne said she would like to return to nursing and continue her nursing education. “A long-term goal for me would even be to go back to UNA and become a professor in their nursing program.”