It takes a village to raise a Miss Delaware and this adventure wouldn't have been half of what it's been without the many amazing people who have impacted my year.
The Miss Delaware Board, all of you have been so supportive and wonderful this year. Thank you so much for your advice, encouragement, and love. Everything you have done for me, and the past Miss Delaware titleholders is appreciated more than you know.
Sam Haskell, Marc Angeli, and everyone else at Miss America, hostesses and all, thank you for making all of this possible. You all make dreams come true every day, both for contestants and for those we meet. I have been forever changed by your efforts to make this organization into the empowering program it is today.
Mallory Hagan, I am so proud to call you my Miss America. You are real, true to yourself, humble, charming, and hilarious. It was an absolute honor to spend time with you this year, and you have continued to blow me away throughout your reign. Thank you for representing our class with so much grace, style, warmth, and "Mallory-ness" (I had to make up a word to describe you because you're so awesome.)
Lexie Madden, I'm not sure how we got lucky enough to be roommates, but when I go back and reflect on Miss America, almost every memory involves you. You are one of the most beautiful, gracious, and positive humans I've ever met, and you've made this year unforgettable. Most of all, thank you for making me laugh when I need it most, and for always lifting my spirits.
My other Miss America sisters, Aniska, thank you for being my "twerk team" sister and for always cracking me up. Anna Laura, you honestly have a heart of gold, and you make me want to be a better person. Taylor, you never fail to lift my spirits and make me laugh. Alexis, you inspire me and everyone around you without even trying to. You are one of the most incredible women I've ever met, and I am so proud of you. To all my other Miss America sisters, thank you so much for making my time in Vegas as amazing as it was. I love each and every one of you.
Paul Timmons, I could not have made it through this year without you. You have been my personal trainer, my confidence booster, and my mental health support all year. Thank you for helping me find confidence and self-worth that I had never tapped into before. You helped me realize that there is nothing wrong with embracing muscle and loving myself just the way I am, no crash dieting involved. Without you, I would not have been able to step on the Miss America stage confident, happy, and loving myself.
Chris Saltalimacchio, Where do I even begin? You were the first person to tell me that I could be Miss Delaware, and you never stopped believing in me. You've been there through the laughs, the tears, the late night phone calls, and the total and complete meltdowns. I would not be where I am today without your advice, help, positivity, and love. You have quickly become one of my closest and most cherished friends, and I love you more than I can ever express in a single blog post.
All of the former Miss Delaware Titleholders, thank you for setting such a wonderful example for me to follow and for making this the legacy it is today. Thank you for welcoming me into the sisterhood with open arms and for all of your kind words. Kama, thank you for being the reason I'm writing this post today. Beth, thanks for all of your kind words and encouragement. Aimee, thank you for everything you've done for me this year. Maria, thank you for being my friend and my partner in weirdness, and for knowing when there's nothing left to do but whine and eat doritos.
Mommy, aren't you glad you didn't successfully talk me out of competing? I know pageants aren't really your thing, but thank you for sticking by my side the past 2 years of competing. You're the best Mom a girl could ask for.
Dad, you always make me laugh with your funny impressions, switched up song lyrics, and movie references, and it's easy to see where I got my sense of humor. You have always supported me in everything I've done without question, and you've always believed in me.
Karen, I don't know why Step-Moms are always evil in Disney movies, but you rock. Thank you for taking me shopping when you know retail therapy is the only hope, and for taking me in as your own daughter.
Mom mom and Pop pop, thank you for spoiling me completely rotten for the past 21 years, and for always being there. I'm so thankful I'm your favorite and only granddaughter.
Aunt Lisa, thanks for the gym and sushi dates, and JP thank you for making me laugh and keeping me up on my current events.
Cory, you are the big brother every little girl should have. Thank you for teaching me to ride a bike, tie my shoes, and all of the finer points of Sussex County living.
Remi, you make me so proud and you always keep me laughing. Thanks for keeping me grounded and for giving me the best and most appropriate nickname ever.
Dillan, you never gave up on me, and you've been with me along every step of the way. Thank you for the pep talks, the late night phone calls, and for traveling all over the country for me.
To all of my friends, Shelby, Abby, Veronica, my AXiD sisters, thank you all for always being there for me to text/call when I need to talk, and for also being there to have fun on my days off.
Shoutout to Christopher Nolan for creating the Dark Knight Trilogy, and JK Rowling for creating my favorite fictional wizarding trio.
Thank you to all of the people I've met this year who have inspired me to be a better version of myself.
Most of all, thank you to my Lord God for the many blessings He has given me, and for His unending grace and love.