LAWTON, Oklahoma -- News 9 at Four anchor Lauren Nelson takes us back to her hometown of Lawton, Oklahoma, in News 9's Road Trip Oklahoma: Going Home series.
Lauren said being raised in this tight-knit community gave her a strong foundation of faith, and a passion for music.
Her home church, Centenary United Methodist Church, played a huge role in her life. Her parents got married in the church, and years later, so did Lauren and her husband. She also sang in the choir, which started her love of music and led her to the national spotlight.
"This is the very spot where I sang my very first solo which led me to the stage of Miss America."
Lauren said some of her fondest memories were made at McArthur High School, where she made life-long friends. She was a member of show choir and spent hours practicing and rehearsing for performances.
"I remember standing in front of this mirror, practicing all my show choir moves, getting ready for all the competitions. I even have a brick up on the wall that I decorated when I was a senior in high school. It's kind of crazy to look back at that time because I don't look anything like that anymore."
Lauren graduated in 2005, but she's still a big part of the school. Her Miss America picture still hangs on the wall in the school's office.
News 9 This Morning anchor Robin Marsh also grew up in Lawton. Just like Robin, Lauren spent a lot of time as a teenager at Wayne's Drive Inn, "the" place to cruise and hang out with friends on the weekends.
These days when Lauren goes home, she and her family like to sit down to their favorite meal -- a sausage pizza at Bianca's Italian Restaurant.