New Miss America Teresa Scanlan attended Imperial’s 125th
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Janie Scanlan said the Miss America Pageant and the events leading up to it were very intense for some.
But her daughter, Teresa, who was competing as Miss Nebraska in the Saturday night pageant, “was totally calm.”
As the 17-year-old made the pageant’s top 15, then the top 10 and the final two, many in the state, and Imperial, who watched it on national television held their breath.
When Scanlan was announced the winner, it was big news in the state—she’s the first one from Nebraska to win the crown in its 90-year history.
Many Imperial residents have taken special interest this year in the new Miss America because she was in the community for last July’s 125th celebration.
Many commented then about her poise and speaking abilities.
Her mom said Tuesday that calmness came through on the national stage, too.
“At that level, all of the girls are just fabulous,” Janie Scanlan said.
“When you think about it, your chances of winning are still less than 2 percent.
“But, she stood out, she was herself, spoke her mind and gave praise to God,” Mrs. Scanlan said of her daughter.
Teresa told her that if she makes it and becomes Miss America, “it’s where I need to be. If not, I’ll go to college.
“She said, ‘either way, it’s perfectly fine,’” her mother added.
As she mentioned while in Imperial, she was planning to enroll at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., where she would major in government with career plans as a lawyer, judge or in politics.
News of Scanlan’s crowning back east notes the Virginia college will now have one less freshman there this fall.
Along with her title, Scanlan also won a $50,000 college scholarship.
Mrs. Scanlan said she and husband, Mark, weren’t able to talk with their daughter immediately after her crowning Saturday because pageant officials whisked her away.
However, they were able to share a suite with her later that night.
“We talked and were able to be excited with her,” she said.
The new Miss America flew out the next day to New York City, and appeared on several TV programs Monday, held press conferences, had photo sessions and has made many other appearances.
Mrs. Scanlan said five of Teresa’s six siblings were able to attend the pageant Saturday, along with other relatives from New York and California.
Her oldest brother and his wife in Kansas City are expecting a baby any day now, Mrs. Scanlan said, so could not attend.
Young age noted
While in Imperial, Scanlan, who will turn 18 on Feb. 6, said it bothered her a little that so much had been made of her young age, but she decided to make the most of it.
Her age continues to be a topic in the news now that she’s Miss America.
In Imperial she encouraged youths to not let anyone think less of them because of how old they are.
She said, “Show that you are truly living your life to the fullest and becoming an inspiration to others.”
She is the youngest Nebraskan to wear the Miss Nebraska crown, and one of the youngest Miss Americas. Two 15-year-olds wore the Miss America crown in the 1920’s and 30’s before the age limit was raised.
Seventeen is the youngest a girl can be to wear the crown.
Her mother doesn’t expect her to get back home to Gering for four to six weeks. Then, state pageant officials are planning a “homecoming” in several Nebraska communities, including Gering, North Platte and others.
Young Scanlan was in Imperial last July as a special guest at the city’s 125th birthday celebration, shortly after being crowned Miss Nebraska.
Scanlan attended the Friday, July 2, opening 125th events, when she sang the National Anthem, played the piano and spoke. She also signed pictures of herself and was on hand for the cake-decorating contest.
In the Miss America Pageant talent competition, she played the same “Whitewater Chopsticks” on piano that she performed in the state pageant and at Imperial’s 125th.
She won the talent division at both the state and Miss America pageants with that number.
Scanlan was home-schooled most of her life, and graduated May, 2010, from Scottsbluff High School.
Her national platform is eating disorders, and she hopes to educate children and adults about its signs and health risks.