by MIKE CHAIKEN
COVID-19 has disrupted life across the globe. Teens in America have not been immune.
For the past year, classes in school have gone remote; school sports seasons were delayed, shortened or shelved; proms and other social activities cancelled and frowned upon; and, more importantly, family and friends have lost their lives.
The Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen competition was one of the many events that was surrendered to the pandemic in 2020. This weekend, however, the contest finally was held… albeit with changes.
The teens wore masks, except for socially distanced photographs. Hugs and close contact of any kind was forbidden. And the live audience was noticeably smaller to comply with social distancing.
Some teens competing said the past year will have long lasting impact on their generation.
“I think we’re going to be a generation that’s adaptable and ready for change,” said Southbury’s Jenna Landmon, Miss Fairfield County’s Outstanding Teen. “This year has shown us we can’t plan for everything and that our plans can get changed at any moment…. (We must) make the most out of any opportunity.”
“I think we’re so strong we can get through this,” said Monika Korbusieski, Miss Wolcott’s Outstanding Teen. “We’re going to appreciate things so much. Before, I think we didn’t appreciate talking to a person, giving them a hug, giving a person a kiss, seeing them face to face.”
The past year also was marked by social and political unrest. And Grace Kelly Nowak, Miss West Haven’s Outstanding Teen, said that also will shape her generation.
“I think everyone is going to come out stronger,” said Nowak. After the past year, she said, “We have to listen to each other. I always say God gave us two ears and one mouth You have to listen more than we speak.”
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN
This year’s candidates for Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen