Local girl wins national award for Most Beautiful Eyes contest

Kayla Helferich (Provided)

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) - Big blueberry eyes. That's what her momma calls them.

Those eyes just won 8-year-old Kayla Helferich from Summerville a $25,000 college scholarship and bragging rights. She will now become the face of the Star Pupils program, the signature children's eye health program for Prevent Blindness America.

"I don't think she would have those eyes if she didn't have Down Syndrome," Kayla's mother, Michelle, said. "I think she has the pretty shape because of Down Syndrome and the brushfield spots that make her eyes sparkle. People comment on that all the time."

The contest started months ago online. Prevent Blindness America was looking from newborn babies to 17 years old to enter. Kayla was voted the South Carolina winner. She was among 49 others that were then narrowed down to the top three by celebrity judges, including television personality Larry King.

"I just kind of entered her picture on a whim," Michelle said. "You enter stuff like this and never imagine to win the grand prize."

But Kayla did win the grand prize and now, has more opportunities to further her education.

Michelle said there are opportunities out there for students like Kayla, but they are limited. Funding and scholarships are also limited, if they are even available at all.

"By the time she gets to college, I imagine there will be many more opportunities and programs. I imagine she'll have her choice."