Zionsville High School Junior Presley Beck has been crowned Miss Fall Festival Outstanding Teen 2020.
A beaming Beck said that the pageant world was new to her, and that she thoroughly enjoyed the process and the people involved.
“It was absolutely amazing; this was my first time participating in a pageant — ever — in my entire life,” she said. “I love my peers. My peers are such amazing people, and I really had the greatest experience. It was the best sisterhood I could have ever had.”
The local program, which is a precursor to the Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen pageant, and part of the Miss America Outstanding Teen program, was held Saturday, Sept. 14, at Zionsville United Methodist Church.
Beck competed for the title with fellow ZCHS juniors Kate Dimmett and Shaylee Barnes.
The three young women were judged on private interview, talent, lifestyle and fitness, and onstage interview/eveningwear.
Each of the competitors also had a platform for which they advocate.
Beck’s platform is Teen Suicide Prevention, Dimmett’s was Notable Measures, and Barnes’ was Mental Health Awareness.
Beck and Barnes each sang during the talent portion of the program; Dimmett tap danced.
The Miss America’s Outstanding Teen is designed to encourage positive achievement by helping nurture and build scholastic achievement, creative accomplishment, healthy living and community involvement in youths.
Barnes, who won the private interview portion of the competition, was named second runner-up; Dimmett was named first runner-up.
Olivia Broadwater Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen 2019 performed several times throughout the program, and gave a farewell speech before crowning Beck, who also won the talent portion of the competition.
“Wow, it’s hard to believe that this moment is already gone. The cliche saying “it goes by fast” was an understatement for this year,” Broadwater said.
She said a year ago she was just beginning her journey as Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen, and that she never dreamed then that she would win more than $3,000 in scholarships, winning the top preliminary award for her night at state, making friends all over the state, and winning first runner-up as Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen. She also sang the National Anthem at numerous events, sang at nursing homes, and raised thousands of dollars for the Alzheimer’s Association with her father.
“I’m so grateful for the Miss America organization, for helping me learn to use my voice where it’s needed,” Broadwater said.
She took time to thank her family, and those involved in the pageant, for their support over the year.
“My final thank you is to you all, and the entire Zionsville community, and your endless support throughout this year. I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of love you’ve shown to me,” she said. “When I first moved here in fifth grade, l — little curly haired Olivia who cried on her first day of school because of not knowing anybody — would not have believed the future in store for her in this community ... so thank you.”
“It was through these rehearsals and getting to know the other sweet girls that I realized the perception society has of a ‘pageant girl’ was so wrong. I realized that it’s being in a sisterhood of driven girls, each with a specific mission to better the world while building each other up,” she said.
Judges for the event were freelance journalist Tom Alvarez; publications manager, writer and digital marketer, Chloe Anagnos; “Two Chicks and a Hmmer Inc.” co-founder Karen E. Laine; American Idol Top 11 finalist from Seasom 7 Amanda Overmyer, and former Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen Kylie Wheeler.
Frank Ricketts was emcee for the afternoon event.
Special guests who made appearances during the program included Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teens Claire Nieshalla (2018), Andi Hagen (2017), Cassidy Sampson (2016) and Paige Harder (2014), and Miss Indiana 2017 Haley Begay.
New this year was the princess program. Eight girls from the community participated in the program, gaining early exposure to being on stage, answering questions in front of a crowd, and performing during a princess number. The princesses also served as escorts for the Miss contestants during the eveningwear competition.
Princesses were Kennedy Baker, Bella Cates, Joss Kramer, Sloan Kramer, Hadley Purvis, Kennedy Purvis and Katie Thomas.
As the newly crowned Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen, Beck will receive a $500 Zionsville Lions Club Scholarship, a $900 package from Indy Lazer, and a headshot package valued at $350 by photographer Roger David Manning. She also received a bouquet provided by From Buds to Blooms, and a crown and sash provided by the Zionsvlle Lions Club.
As Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen, one of Beck’s first events will be the Boone Village Halloween contest. She also will make appearances at other Lions Club events, participate in parades, and represent the community at Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen next June.