Elaine Campanelli Santo had a message "burning inside" her, but she waited 30 years to share it.
The 56-year-old resident of the Smithville section of Galloway Township recently self-published "From Glamour to Glory" (Xulon Press), a 168-page memoir that shows how she overcame obstacles through faith and determination to become a Miss America Pageant contestant and a special education teacher who had a major impact on children's lives.
Raised in Atlantic City in an impoverished, single-parent household, Campanelli Santo never let her surroundings deflate her. Constantly encouraged by her mother, an Italian immigrant, to "dream big," Campanelli Santo attended the University of Delaware and won the Miss Delaware title in 1975, followed by her Miss America appearance in 1976.
Although Bert Parks did not sing that she won the crown, the experience changed her life. The book talks about how faith played a huge role in her life, and she believes God wanted her to become a teacher so she could inspire and help students, which included suicide prevention on several occasions.
"I think my calling was to inspire others to know God the way I know him," said Campanelli Santo, who is planning to speak at various churches about her life and book. "I can inspire students to not only become teachers but to learn and be successful no matter what they do. This is not about selling books. It's my job to win millions for God."
"From Glamour to Glory" is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
•Cape May Court House's Volunteers in Medicine, or VIM, an agency designed to assist those without health insurance, recently installed its new Board of Trustees officers. The executive board consists of Cape May Court House's Richard Papperman (chairman), West Cape May's Dr. Ronald Goldstein (vice chairman) and Sandra Gott (treasurer) and Ocean City's Rita Fulginiti (secretary). Other recent VIM appointees include Stone Harbor's Karin Wren, who joined the Board of Trustees, and Marmora's Dr. Elizabeth Crowley, the agency's new medical director.
•Ocean City recently held its first annual half-marathon and 5K run/ walk. The event drew more than 450 participants. Local top 10 finishers of the half-marathon were Ocean City's Susan Reich (fifth), Terrance Clemens (eighth) and Louise Nunan (10th). Local top 10 5K finishers were Brigantine's Matthew Thompson (first), Cape May's Kristen Donohue (second), Cape May Court House's Lucille Barber (seventh) and Mays Landing's Matt Litton (sixth) and Jenna Townsend (10th).
Everyone Has a Story appears Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. To share your story, call Scott Cronick at 609-272-7017 or e-mail him at:
A Pleasantville man overcomes
a learning disability to become
a leader in the community,
in Wednesday's Everyone Has