by MIKE CHAIKEN
Three women were selected as representatives of the Miss Wolcott organization. Not only will they represent the community, these three women also will serve as representatives for issues they have taken to heart.
Laura Christie, 23, of Milford was selected as the new Miss Wolcott. Ashlyn Mercier, 20, was selected as Miss Farmingbury. Both will compete for Miss Connecticut next year. A date for the competition has not been announced.
Alexandria Maisto, 16, was selected as Miss Wolcott’s Outstanding Teen. She will compete at Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen next year on a date also yet to be announced.
Mercier, who is a student at the University of New Haven, was inspired by her younger brother’s battle with cancer when she chose her issue to promote over the next year. “(My mission is) basically to bring positivity to children battling critical illnesses.”
“When (my brother) was sick, my family would always tell me I was his biggest cheerleader, so I want to continue being that person for people who need it,” said Mercier, who is a resident of Oxford, Mass.
Christie, a Milford resident, has been working on a platform that speaks about body image and inclusion. “It’s just about what’s inside that counts.”
Although there has been progress in the media about the definition of beauty, Christie said, “I think there’s always room for improvement. I feel just advocating and opening up a conversation is the best way to get started.
“My platform is ‘Inclusion starts with I,’ which is about social inclusion through athletics,” said Maisto, a Wolcott resident. “I, myself, am part of the Unified Sports program (at Wolcott High School) and I believe we can expand it more to get everybody involved.”
Special Olympics (SpecialOlympics.org) explained that Unified Sports “joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.”
Maisto, who is hearing impaired, said, “I want to get more people on the team, and I want to hold my own Special Olympics.” Maisto said her program would be primarily for Wolcott residents. However, she was open to the idea of bringing in representatives from other towns as well. “(I would) make it a whole day event for the athletes and partners who want to achieve their most in Special Olympics.”
After the Miss Wolcott competition, which was held Saturday at Wolcott High School, all three of the new titleholders celebrated with their families.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Christie, who will be competing for Miss Connecticut for the third time. “I’m so ready to hit the ground running and look forward to an amazing year.”
“It feels incredible,” said Mercier of winning the Miss Farmingbury title. “It’s actually my first local competition within the organization so I’m super blessed for this opportunity.”
“I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a little girl and now, I’m finally Miss Wolcott’s Outstanding Teen and I get to represent my hometown,” said Maisto. “It’s unbelievable.”
The Miss Wolcott competition was the first local event held by the Miss Connecticut organization, which is part of the Miss America Organization, since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Last year, all of the local competitions were canceled. Miss Connecticut was held in April. However, all the contestants arrived with titles without having competed in the towns across Connecticut.
Asked how it felt to have a bit of normalcy in 2021, Christie said, “This community is absolutely amazing and that’s what I love the best coming back post COVID, just really connecting to all my sisters and the amazing community (of Wolcott).”
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN