Once the fashion show was over, we all headed to have lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Unfortunately, we had to rush through lunch because the teen pageant was starting at 2pm (so no cheesecake for us).
Finally it was 8 o'clock....SHOWTIME!!!!! I was pumped, fired up, and excited for the night ahead. After performing the opening number in our fabulous orange dresses, it was time to announce the Top 10...um wait hold on actually Top 11! Due to a tie, this year a Top 11 was announced! Jessica Lynch Renzi, Miss New York 2003, began to name the lucky eleven. As the first three girls were called, I could feel my heart racing hoping that my name would be next. Sure enough, Jessica named the fourth contestant: "Kimberly Cantoni!" AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
When I was a little girl, I used to travel to Watertown where the Miss New York Pageant used to take place. I remember how happy the Top 10 were as they stood side by side; knowing they still had the opportunity to become Miss New York. I always wanted to be one of those girls and now, finally, it was my turn. This was one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life. Knowing how hard I worked this year, this was a defying moment for me. And now, the competition continues. Staying opened minded, positive, and focused, I competed in Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit, Talent, and Evening Wear all over again. And just like the night before, I felt confident about everything I did on that stage.
After intermission, it came time to announce the Top 5. Despite how great I felt about the way I competed, my name was not announced. I was disappointed that my journey towards the job of Miss New York came to an end. However, I was proud that I had overcome this roadblock in my life and was part of the lucky few who got the chance to compete again. It was also refreshing to see some of the girls from the Miss New York Class of 2009. Hearing them tell me how proud they were of me to be able to come back and make the Top 11 was so supportive.
Congratulations to all the girls, especially CLAIRE BUFFIE, THE NEW MISS NEW YORK!!!
Here are the very beautiful, talented, and extraordinary Top 11: Faren Collins, Amanda Mason, Keelie Sheridan, Jennifer Scacco (3rd Runner Up), Mallory Hagan (1st Runner Up), Claire Buffie (Miss New York 2010), Hannah Wright (2nd Runner Up), Inga Schlingmann (4th Runner Up), Kimberly Cantoni, Katie Martin, and Jackie Holmes.
Also during the night, I was the recipient of the Miss America Community Service Award. This award is given out to a contestant in each state who has been committed to promoting her personal platform and the Children's Miracle Network. It was an honor receiving this award from Marc Angeli, the Director of Field Marketing for Miss America.
My recognition for my commitment to community service continued at the afterglow party, where I was awarded as the Children's Miracle Network Miracle Maker for New York. This was the second consecutive year I was named the recipient of this award. It is given to the contestant in each state who has raised the most money for the Children's Miracle Network. Now many people have inquired how I was able to raise over $5,000 for CMN. One of the ways I was able to raise money this year was with the help of my high school Principal, Douglas McManus. He gave my the opportunity to organize a dress down day at Moore Catholic High School that raised a total of $2,690 for the Children's Miracle Network. $2,000 went to the Children's Miracle Network, an $690 went to the Haitian Relief Fund- the Staten Island Rotary matched the donation making it $1,380.
My wonderful family who I would be nothing without
Looking back on this past week, I can honestly say that I can leave this experience with no regrets, doing everything I could have done right. I had a blast hanging out with the Class of 2010. I enjoyed every minute of the week. It's sad and hard to believe that "pageant week" is over. However, my responsibilities as Miss Richmond County are far from it. The job of Miss Richmond County will not end for me. I will go back to Staten Island and continue making an impact in my community until it comes time for me to crown my successor. My journey in the Miss America Organization isn't over for me as I have one more year to go- one more chance to achieve my goal. Until then, stay up to date with the remainder of my year as Miss Richmond County.