Pennington reflects on Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant

Helena High School senior Tiara Pennington, left, recently spent 10 days in Orlando, Fla. to represent the state of Alabama as well as Shelby County in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant where she finished in the top 11. (File)

Helena High School senior Tiara Pennington, left, recently spent 10 days in Orlando, Fla. to represent the state of Alabama as well as Shelby County in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant where she finished in the top 11. (File)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

ORLANDO, Fla.–Helena High School senior Tiara Pennington recently spent 10 days in Orlando, Fla. to represent the state of Alabama as well as Shelby County in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant after being crowned Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen in March.

After competing against 50 other girls ages 13-17 for the crown, Pennington found out on Aug. 6 at the finale that she was named to the top 11 representing Alabama.

“I was so excited because I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not because I hadn’t won any of the non-finalist preliminary awards for the nights of competition so I was really excited I even made it that far and was able to represent my state,” said Pennington.

During the 10 days in Orlando, Pennington competed in events on different days and was judged on an interview, on-stage question and evening gown wear, fitness, talent and more.

Pennington reflected on what her favorite part of the trip was and she enjoyed the down time and parts of the trip that weren’t as stressful.

“I would say my first day when I got there was a lot of fun because that was all the photo shoots that we had that day so it was just learning how to really get friendly with the camera and just have fun,” said Pennington. “They had music playing all the time so we did dancing during the photo shoots. Then Friday on our day off when we went to SeaWorld was fun. I’m totally terrified of roller coasters but I rode all the roller coasters that were there so I think I conquered that fear.”

After making it to the top 11 in the MAOT pageant, Pennington said she would now focus on finishing out her senior year of high school at Helena and start preparing for college. She will keep her title of Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen until March 2017.

Pennington said she learned a lot while competing in Orlando and she eventually wants to compete for the title of Miss Alabama.

“Being there I learned that the job of being Miss America’s Outstanding Teen are early mornings and late nights,” said Pennington. “Having to always just look like you’re ready and refreshed to go even if you’re not and just really expecting the unexpected was something that I really learned from that whole experience.”