“I’m a cheerleader for the Miss America program, because I think it is very relevant for young women and definitely enables so many young women who may not have had education (to go to college). That is extremely critical in today’s society,” Sherry said. Each Miss Maryland state titleholder receives a $10,000 scholarship, but the program makes sure all participants walk away with a chance for more education. “Just by stepping foot on the Maryland stage, each (Miss) contestant gets a $500 scholarship. That’s remarkable.”
Evolution also means drawing new participants into the organization. The Miss Maryland organization will introduce a preteen program this year, in an effort to increase mentoring opportunities and grow the state organization from elementary school on up. From princess to preteen to teen, the younger contestants are when they begin their exposure to MAO lessons like community service, goal orientation, healthy lifestyles, and dedication to education, the stronger the organization will be.
Contestants are the heart of the Maryland program, and everything the organization does is to ensure the young women who compete—whether they win a crown or not—are exposed to an environment that enables them to thrive. In receiving scholarships that open doors for academic advancement and in drawing from the guidance and experience of mentors, Maryland contestants and titleholders are well-prepared for the rigors of the real world.
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Photo: Miss Maryland State Executive Director Sherry Rush with Miss Maryland 2012 Joanna Guy and Miss Maryland's Outstanding Teen 2012 Kennedy Taylor.