COURT HOUSE - When the Performing Arts Center of Middle Township hosts preliminary pageants in the national Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition this summer, it will be aiming for a record- setting, ninth straight year that its contestants will move on to represent the state of New Jersey in the national competition.
Since 2006, eight teens from Cape May, Atlantic, Camden and Gloucester Counties have won preliminary pageants at The PAC and have gone on to win the state title and compete against 51 other winners in Florida. One of them finished first –runner-up in the national pageant, and two others finished in the top 15.
The most recent to reach this mark from Cape May County is Middle Township’s Alyssa Sullivan who will be competing in the nationals in Orlando, Fla., as Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen on August 15, 16 and 17.
Others who preceded her as state winners included Amanda Ross of Galloway, Miss South Shore Area 2012; Natalie Ragazzo of Pennington, Miss Seashore Line 2011, who finished among the top ten; Andie Barbusik of Deptford , Miss Atlantic Shores 2010, who finished among the top 15; Brenna Weick of Mantua, Miss Coastal Shore 2009, who was first runner up; Kathryn Nicolle of Wenonah, Miss Coastal Shore 2008; Kaitlyn Schoeffel of Egg Harbor, Miss Coastal Shore 2007, and Kathryn Petrosh of Egg Harbor, Miss Seashore Line 2006.
This year’s teen pageants will be held at The PAC on Aug. 24 and Sept. 29. These events are especially close to the heart of Kay Aspell, director of The Performing Arts Center. She is a former Miss Cape May County, one-time director of a Miss America preliminary in Gloucester County, and now is director of the South Shore area pageant in which Sullivan competed. The winners of the preliminaries will go on to compete in the finals of Miss New Jersey Outstanding Teen 2014 next year.