Vancouver resident Payton May won the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition tonight in Orlando.
“I don’t want to get emotional, but this has truly been one of the most amazing weeks of my entire life,” Payton, 17, said in her acceptance speech.
In addition to a crown, Payton took home a $30,000 scholarship. She will be a senior at Skyview High School in the fall.
Payton advanced to the national contest after winning Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen in May.
Contestants participate in private and on-stage interviews, and also perform a talent for judges. For her talent, Payton sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Her social impact platform is convincing young people to register to vote and develop a lifelong habit of civic involvement.
“I’m kind of speechless right now,” Payton told The Columbian. “You’re kind of overcome with emotion. You don’t really know what to feel. You hear your name being called and then the waterworks start — a lot of tears and emotion and hugging.”
Payton hopes to use her scholarship to study journalism and political science at the University of Southern California.