How brains and beauty helped Miss New Jersey pay off her college debt
Is the Miss America pageant irrelevant in 2016? Not to the newly crowned Miss New Jersey, Brenna Weick. It helped her solve a problem faced by most of her peers. And she gets a great summer job, too.
"I am graduating college without debt because of the scholarships I've earned competing in this organization. I would not have been able to pay my way through college without being successful in the organization," the Mantua resident said, referring to the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation which awards sponsorship.
"I paid for my first year of college because of the Miss Miss America Outstanding Teen Organization," the psychology major from High Point University said in an interview with New Jersey 101.5. "I continued through college with the help of my parents and now having won Miss New Jersey I am paying off my student loans."
Weick said she will be busy most of summer preparing for the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.
"My summer job is Miss New Jersey. Luckily, I've already graduated but if you haven't graduated school yet you take a leave of absence. You don't go to school and you don't have a job for one full year being Miss New Jersey," explained Weick. "I'll be doing lots of appearances as Miss New Jersey, preparing for Miss America and traveling the state."
During her appearances Weick will be promoting her platform of "A World of Difference: Navigating the Cybersphere," which teaches about safety on the internet and cyberbullying. An exercise she does with children is to hand them a pristine heart shaped tissue and ask them to crumple it up.
"I ask them to make it how it was when I first gave it to them and they try and fail. They realize that once you alter something in a negative way there's really no turning back. You can't make someone feel whole again after they have been cyberbullied."
Weick said she was inspired by negative things posted about her on pageant message boards.
"I had been brought up many, many times on these websites, sometimes people saying that they hope I win" and offering supportive comments. "But a lot of times it's people who maybe want someone else to win. They don't really have a connection to me and they post really negative things. I read those comments before and was really disheartened by them. It took me a long time to realize that what other people say anonymously on the internet does not reflect on what I do on a daily basis for my community and for the people that I love. I think it's important they I help other people realize that too."
Weick hopes that during her reign she can be role model for girls "rather than some of the other celebrities we see in the news today."
The Miss America Pageant is Sunday, Sept. 11 in Atlantic City