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Comments From Past Participants of the Miss America Program

“The opportunity to compete at Miss America is an experience that I will always remember. It was more than just appearing on stage and playing in the sand of the Atlantic City Shore. It was meeting with Senators and Congressmen, visiting soldiers at Andrews Air Force Base, and working with hospitalized children. Making top ten was exciting, but it was the Miss America experience and memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
— Kelley Scott, Miss Oklahoma 2003

“When I arrived at the first rehearsal for my very first local pageant, I sat quietly in the corner, trying to go as unnoticed as possible. A few weeks later, I left that auditorium with a scholarship to advance my education, an unexpected pageant title, but most importantly, a wealth of self-confidence that I have drawn on time and time again. Miss America is more than a crown. It is even more than a scholarship program. The Miss America Organization enhances a young woman's ability to dream.”
— Laura Lawless, Miss Arizona 2002

“Being a contestant in the Miss America Program has contributed to the person I am today. Not only have I honed interview and public speaking skills to last a lifetime, I have learned invaluable networking and communication skills unlike anything I could have learned in a classroom. I thank the Miss America Organization for their commitment to the pursuit of my educational, personal, and professional goals. You have made all the difference!”
— Tanisha Nicole Brito, Miss Connecticut 2002

“ . . . I will always be indebted to the Miss America volunteers and to my peers in the system — they’ve changed my life forever. Because of the Miss America program, I was able to graduate debt-free from the college of my choice.”
— Jennifer Hover White, Miss Missouri 2001

“Since I began competing in the Miss America system, I have traveled to five countries, delivered thousands of speeches, performed in thousands of venues, earned over $15,000 in appearance fees, and been awarded over $25,000 in scholarships. More importantly, I have been given the invaluable opportunity for self-improvement. My experiences with the Miss America Organization have catapulted me through life, taking me farther than I would ever have gone on my own.”
— Stephanie Baldwin, Miss California 2001

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Miss America Organization for not only transforming me into a poised, well-spoken young woman, but also for funding my entire college education. The Miss America Organization provides opportunities for women, like myself, to strive for a college degree and beyond. On my college graduation day, receiving my diploma will feel wonderful, but knowing that I am debt-free will feel even better. Thank you Miss America!!!”
— Amy Shaw, Miss Kansas 2000

“My participation in the Miss America program has given me so much: friendships, public speaking skills, memories, and scholarships. However, I believe the most valuable benefit for me has been an increased sense of self.”
— Jill Pennington, Miss Nebraska 2000

“My involvement in the Miss America Organization and my "Making a Commitment to Kids" (MACK) literacy platform have opened my eyes to the true meaning of "wearing the crown." I know that a crown is just an inanimate object, but it's what I can do with the crown through my platform that makes the Miss America Organization so special to me, and so worthy of dedicating my time. The success stories I have witnessed are the reasons I strive to "wear the crown" everyday by being a good role model and by trying my best to make a difference in my community through my platform. Regardless of the outcome of the actual competition, when you can step out of yourself and make a difference in the lives of others, you are a winner in this program.”
— MacKenzie Mayes, Miss Monticello 1999

“What a wonderful program the Miss America Scholarship Organization is!! I am accomplishing my life goals, due, in large part to what I learned through participation in this system, but it took years of hard work and dedication to understand the true meaning of the power of the crown. If you are competing strictly for a crown, your heart might be broken, but if you are competing to further your education and make a difference in the lives of others, it will be the most rewarding experience of your life. I have always felt that the true power of the crown, or any type of “fame” lies in its potential to do good, and when I look into the eyes of the children I have been able to touch through my work in this program, I know exactly what the stones in the crown represent. The light from the crown still reflects in my life, as I complete my Specialist Degree in Psychology in order to continue working with the children who became the focus of my years of service as a local and state titleholder. Thank you, MAO, for helping me to become the person I am today.”
— Chera-Lyn Cook-Kennedy, Miss Kentucky 1998

“Being involved in the Miss America experience, from the local to the national level, was a swift process that had positive and life altering effects. Embarking "on the road to Miss America" was a journey of self-discovery and tremendous growth. I was able to realize and to develop personal skills and talents that had yet been untapped. This experience instilled in me a deeper commitment and investment in my community and to public service, which continues to strongly influence my work in dance education. I am grateful for being one of many who have benefited from the support and efforts of the Miss American Organization and its thousands of volunteers committed to the growth of young woman in the United States. Keep up the GREAT work that you are doing!”
— Tina Curran, Miss North Dakota 1988

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