Miss America 2011
Graduated from Scottsbluff High School
Has Deferred Enrollment to Patrick Henry College
The 700 Club
Teresa Scanlan: Miss America 2011
By The 700 Club
A GROUND-BREAKING MISS AMERICA
Teresa Scanlan considers it a great honor to be crowned Miss America 2011. She's thriled that she won during the 90th anniversary of the pageant and that she is the youngest lady to win since 1937. For Teresa the win was especially significant because she is the first Miss America for the state of Nebraska.
Since being privileged with her new title, Teresa has been busy. She’s been to the Superbowl, Hawaii, and Montreal. Recently she’s done some events in Michigan, Mississippi, and Boston, where she spoke on her platform issue - eating disorders.
Teresa says the highlights of her reign so far are being involved with the USO and being the National Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). The experiences she’s had visiting military hospitals and children’s’ hospitals will stay with her forever. At the military hospitals coming face-to-face with wounded warriors and amputees from the war was more real to her.
Teresa spoke to a lot of individuals who were not much older than her. She says this was refreshing and brought life into perspective. Instead of complaining or feeling sorry for themselves these young soldiers were thankful to be alive and worried about their comrades still on the field. It was admirable that if they could, they would go back to the war front, and many of these wounded were newlyweds and family men. Teresa says it was a great lesson in gratitude. These soldiers were really thankful and they made the decision to sacrifice their lives for others.
In the children’s hospitals most of the children were in the hospitals not by choice. It was difficult for Teresa to see children in these situations. The children and their families were facing life or death situations everyday – most of the children had life threatening illnesses. They didn’t have toys or a lot of comforts but it was nice to see that they and their families had joy despite these things. Before her reign, Teresa had never been involved with the Children’s Miracle Network but she believes that she will continue to be involved with CMN all of her life.
EDUCATION AND PAGEANTS
Teresa is one of seven children that have grown up in a Christian home and have been homeschooled. She has always loved the flexibility of homeschooling. Teresa’s parents have given each of their children the choice to go to public school or not. This flexibility was eventually an asset for Teresa as she was able to graduate from high school early and enter the Miss America pageant.
At 13, Teresa started competing in pageants because her older sister competed in pageants when she was 13 – Teresa thought that’s what you’re supposed to do. She competed in a county fair and kept looking for other pageants to join for the next four years. Then, she won in a local pageant.
During Teresa's freshman and sophomore year she went to public school, and then graduated. When she turned 17 she was eligible to compete in Miss Nebraska. She won. Then she found she was eligible for the Miss America pageant. Teresa didn’t think she was ready, but she decided to pursue it. Ultimately, she was ready for it.
GROWING IN FAITH
Though Teresa grew up in a Christian home and was baptized at seven, she really feels that her faith and relationship with God has grown in the last few years. She admits her teens were tough years. She would get in the way of trusting God. Pageantry helped her trust God because she couldn’t control the outcome and she had to trust Him.
Teresa says that even in regards to winning Miss America, everything in the plan was perfectly placed by God - she couldn’t have accomplished it if she planned it herself. It was to fulfill His plan. She is at peace and in a place to trust Him. Even with her in decision to go to public school, Teresa says it was scary to graduate early. She wasn’t going to start competing, but God made a way. When she ran for Miss Nebraska, she didn’t feel prepared. Teresa says she was least prepared and least ready, but she’s learned that’s when God can make leaders through Him.
Teresa knows she can do nothing on her own. God steps in and makes her attempts something spectacular and it is nothing she did. It didn’t matter about her age or any other limitation. God’s plan is beautiful; we just have to put trust in Him. We can see examples of leadership in the Bible. When she was going through this, she remembered the Old Testament stories of biblical leaders like Abraham, Moses, and Gideon. When God called them they thought, “God, it can’t be me.” When she was younger, she didn’t think she would be like that but as she grew older she found she could relate to their doubts. Teresa has learned that God is working through you. He creates leaders and He uses, shapes, and molds us. Teresa let God change her and continues to do so.
A GENERATION AT RISK
Eating disorders is Teresa’s platform issue. There are more people with eating disorders than breast cancer and there is a 20% mortality rate. Teresa says everything done for the sake of awareness makes such a difference. If it can start with one person changing his or her unhealthy attitudes about eating disorders and societal standards of beauty, then societal mindsets would change. She was first made aware of eating disorders when she was 13.
Teresa really didn’t understand what bulimia was so she researched it. From her research she was made more aware of the disease and found out that it could kill, which many people don’t realize. Later, when Teresa transferred to public high school she saw that many of the kids had eating disorders and it was something that was not addressed – everyone at school knew which students had eating disorders.
Teresa says she never fell under the pressure of “perfection” and beauty standards. She used to be shy as a kid, but the more she did pageants she came out of her shell. Teresa did well and it boosted her confidence. She learned to accept herself. At 13, she promised herself she wouldn’t hurt herself to gain success in pageants or anything else and she has kept her promise to herself. Teresa is proud to say that she has never hurt herself nor did anything detrimental to her body to achieve her success. When she speaks to young people she shares that hurting one’s self is never an option for success.
EARLY DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE
When Teresa was 8 or 9-years-old she was already interested in becoming a politician. She believes that politicians need to be people of integrity to change government. She also believes that there needs to be a turning back so that our government officials can be those that people can trust. There is a great work to be done. Teresa’s goal is to attend law school, become a judge and eventually a politician. Over the last year – she saw that this was a good goal to have.
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