“So many girls at this age lack confidence and pageants are actually a great way to put your focus on something you really care about [your platform] and work towards something really exciting,” says Grace Henry (‘19), Miss Manchester’s Outstanding Teen.
Oyster River High School students, Grace Henry (‘19) and Kirsten Bornkessel (‘20), competed to be Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen in February 2018. By encouraging young women to perform well, whether in a classroom, on stage, or in the community, the Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Program fosters an environment for teenagers to become more outgoing, challenge themselves, and impact those around them.
Henry (‘19) is Miss Manchester’s Outstanding Teen and placed in the top 12 at the state competition. Her platform is Selective Mutism: Educate to Excel. Bornkessel (‘20) is Miss Bedford’s Outstanding Teen and her platform is Reaching Out for the Red Cross. Both girls chose to sing for their talent.
Miss America’s Outstanding Teen is a sister program to Miss America. According to their website, the program, “promotes scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement for America’s teens.” Since its creation in 2005, the organization has provided over a million dollars in scholarship money.
The MNHOT competition begins at the local level, where girls ages 13-17 compete for local titles around New Hampshire. Each locally crowned Outstanding Teen competes at Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen, the winner of which then competes at the national level to be Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in Orlando, Florida.
In order to be crowned, the contestant must demonstrate what is referred to as the four points of the crown: style, scholarship, service, and success. The four points of the crown are measured by a minute and a half talent performance, an eight minute interview with a panel of judges, an onstage question combined with formal wear, a lifestyle and fitness routine, and the contestant’s academic achievement. The onstage question is relating to the contestant’s platform, which is an organization or cause that the contestant supports.
The winner of Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen 2018 was Morgane Grace Vigroux, sophomore at Pinkerton Academy, who won locally as Miss Capital Area’s Outstanding Teen. She selected Say “No More” to Domestic Violence as her platform and uses every volunteering opportunity to speak to others about her own experiences, the long term effects of domestic violence, and where to seek help.
“The Miss America Program opens doors for young women,” said Vigroux. “Not only is it the number one scholarship provider for young women in the world, but in the state of New Hampshire.” She added that the Miss New Hampshire Organization gives out $160,000 in scholarships each year.
Vigroux personally received over $3,000 in scholarship money and awards for Overall Talent and Highest Scoring Vocalist, and will have the opportunity to compete for an additional scholarship in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in July. “The Miss America Scholarship program is the only way I am able to afford the cost of college and I am so thankful.”
Because of the friendships she has made and the growth she sees in herself and in others, Vigroux highly recommends this program. “You leave the program more confident and a better version of yourself than when you began.”
Although Henry is aging out of the MNHOT program this year, she hopes to compete in following years in the Miss New Hampshire competition. Bornkessel plans to compete next year in local pageants because the MNHOT program has been a positive experience. “You really grow as a young adult and are able to take leadership [positions] and talk confidently, not only to your peers but adults. It really prepares you for the future.”
For additional information about the Miss New Hampshire Scholarship Program and the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Program, visit missnh.org or check out their social media.