Tonight I took part in the grand return of the Miss Niagara Scholarship Organization. After a nearly ten year hiatus the title is back and women from across the county came to compete for the job of Miss Niagara, a scholarship award, and the opportunity to compete for my title this summer.
Hundreds of guests filled the historic Palace Theater. As I conversed with the crowd I was pleased to hear that many did not know a contestant, telling me they were simply interested in supporting what the program stands for and offers to young women. Nearly 60 baskets were put together and donated by the local community to help raise funds for the scholarship. The theater was abuzz with energy as locals prepared to welcome back a familiar friend, Miss Niagara, from her decade long absence.
And the winner is...
Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Miss Niagara 2012...Desiree Wiley!! Desiree will spend the coming year serving her local community and will join me this summer for the chance to take over the job of Miss New York.
The community's support of tonight's event really moved me. I am so glad to see how much this area values the Miss America opportunity. Much of my professional and personal growth happened because of my first local director, Bob Clark. He taught me everything I know about being a business woman during my year as his 19 year old Miss Tampa. Every year he takes a young lady and transforms her into a woman. When local directors take the opportunity to mentor and grow their contestant, the entire community wins. It is clear to me that this will be the case with the Miss Niagara Organization, and I am so thankful to have them in our family once again.
Congratulations to Desiree, and to all of tonight's contestants! You represented yourselves beautifully and made your home town proud. Thank you to the Miss Niagara team. What a beautiful return you have made. Thank you for bringing the Miss America opportunity to the women in your area and for letting me take part!!