By MIKE CHAIKEN
SOUTHINGTON — The Miss Connecticut Scholarship welcomed a bundle of new inductees into the Class of 2018 on Saturday, Dec. 2.
The Miss Nutmeg Scholarship Organization held two pageants—in the afternoon, Miss Nutmeg and in the evening, Miss Southington. Ten new crowns were awarded at the pageants held at Derynoski Elementary School.
In the earlier pageant, Alyssa Anderson of Wolcott was crowned Miss Nutmeg. Bridget Oei of Hebron was crowned Miss Mountain Laurel. Natascia Simone of Ansonia is the new Miss Constitution.
In the Outstanding Teen competition, Gabi Sturgeon of North Granby was crowned Miss Nutmeg’s Outstanding Teen. Rielley Coles of Southington received Miss Mountain Laurel’s Outstanding Teen honors. Wolcott’s Ali Maringola is the new Miss Constitution’s Outstanding Teen.
In the evening pageant, Stephanie Brady of Storrs was selected as Miss Charter Oak. Karla Aponte Roque of Branford was crowned the new Miss Southington.
For the teens, Miss Watertown’s Outstanding Teen is Southington’s Alyssa Petrone. Miss Southington’s Outstanding Teen is Sydney Goodrich of Wolcott.
After the Miss Southington pageant, Petrone said, “It was really amazing (to win). This is my first pageant and seeing how hard I have worked for this has helped me so much. It really was an amazing experience. And meeting all of these new girls was truly spectacular.”
Petrone said she entered the event because “I personally wanted to boost my self-confidence. This definitely has helped me because going out in front of tons of people I don’t know… definitely has helped me.”
With her new title, Goodrich said, “I’m just so overwhelmed with emotion and I’m just so excited with everything. I can’t believe this is happening. I wanted this since I was 5-years-old and it’s finally happening.”
Goodrich said she wanted a title for so long because “I think it’s amazing one person can impact so many lives. And that’s something I am really inspired to do.”
Aponte Roque said, “I feel truly honored and blessed to be able to represent the great city of Southington and to be able to continue on in the Miss Connecticut organization.”
Aponte Roque, who also competed for Miss Massachusetts, said she likes the Miss America Organization because “I have the opportunity to win a scholarship. I currently have a double major at Albertus Magnus studying biology and chemistry minoring in pre-pharmacy and psychology. So, it’s important to me to further my education. What better way to do it than represent my state.”
Brady said of her new title, “I’m really honored and just so excited to select me to represent this incredible area.”
Brady is returning to compete at Miss Connecticut after serving a year as Miss Storrs. She said she likes the organization because of “the friendships that have come out of it. Last year, I got to know the girls so well I just wanted to have another chance and come back and spend time with them again.”
“I’m feeling so excited, it’s such an honor,” said Coles of her new crown. “It’s my first time, so it’s very excited.”
Given that it was her first time, Coles said she was surprised to learn “it was much more laid back than I thought it would. It was more like having a fun time rather than a competition.”
“I’m so overwhelmed I’m so thrilled and honored to be Miss Nutmeg,” said Anderson. “It’s a great title.” “I’m truly energized by the Miss American organization,” said Anderson who has been a Miss twice before and had competed as a teen. “It allows me to be my true self. It allows me to do something I’m passionate about–showcase my talent– all the while earning scholarship dollars. It’s really incredible.”
“I am speechless,” said Sturgeon of winning the new title. “This is the second time I’ve been Miss Nutmeg’s Outstanding Teen. So, I’m super excited and I hope to make this year wonderful.”
Sturgeon said she likes competing for Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen because of “the sisterhood. We are all family. I love these girls so much and I’m so thankful I’m part of this organization and have met so many wonderful and inspiring girls.”
“I’m so very excited,” said Oei of her victory. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to comeback (she was Miss Southington last year) and come compete, so I’m glad to come back and compete with Nutmeg.”
“I love everyone involved (at Miss Connecticut) and everyone who runs it, so I wanted to give it one more shot,” Oei said.
“I’m so excited right now,” said Maringola after the pageant.
“The program gives you a lot of life skills you need,” said Maringola of Miss Connecticut. “The program is so welcoming.”
“I’m so excited to be the new Miss Constitution,” said Simone when asked how she was feeling.
Simone will be making her fourth trip to Miss Connecticut. “It has made me such an amazing young woman. I started with the organization at 18. I’ve grown so much. Because of that, I continued to compete.”
Also competing for the Outstanding Teen title on Saturday were Faith Boilard of Bristol and Melissa Tracey of Southington.
Also competing for the Miss titles were Courtney Ouellette and Amber Ouellette of Bristol, Danielle Radeke of Hamden, and Alexis Volpe of Middletown.
Miss Connecticut will be held at The Palace Theater in Waterbury in June.
By MIKE CHAIKEN