MTHS senior to represent state  as Miss N.J.'s Outstanding Teen

Alyssa Sullivan, of Cape May Court House, will compete in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant in August.

A Cape May County resident holds the title of this year's Miss New Jersey's Outstanding Teen for the first time in the pageant's history.

Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Sullivan, of Cape May Court House, won the state title Jan. 26, competing against 14 teenagers from all across the state. Sullivan will move on to compete for the national title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen in Orlando, Fla., in August. Her pageant talent, for both the state and national competition, is vocal theatrics and pageant platform is teenage sex abstinence. Her competition song is "This is My Moment," from the musical, "Jekyll & Hyde."

"Winning was such a great feeling, and now I'm ready to take New Jersey to the national level," Sullivan said. "I competed against 14 of the best teen women in New Jersey, all of them so deserving, so being able to win this is such a great honor."

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She's specifically excited to further promote her platform.

"Teen abstinence is something that is real to me and something that I'm passionate about. I want to take this platform of abstinence out of just New Jersey, and now I'm able to do that," Sullivan said. "Not just Cape May County, not just New Jersey, but everyone will get to hear about my platform and that's the goal."

She is also a state representative through the Peer Challenge, Commit2Character program, funded by a federal Title V grant through the state. The mission of the Peer Challenge program is to encourage youth to postpone sexual activity and avoid other risk-taking behaviors. Sullivan often goes into county schools to speak to its students about the importance of sex abstinence. Her involvement with the Peer Challenge program ties in nicely with her pageantry platform, allowing her to be active in both.

Aside from rising through the pageantry ranks, Sullivan's other aspiration is to become a Broadway star.

Sullivan hopes to attend a music conservatory after high school - she is a junior at Middle Township High School - where she will major in musical theater and begin auditioning for Broadway shows.

"Pageantry has definitely helped to boost my confidence on and off the stage," Sullivan said. "Pageantry in general has really just made me a better person. It's made me more confident, more charitable, more kind: Everything that I want to be."

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