Shereen Pimentel felt like she won $1 million after being crowned New Jersey Outstanding Teen 2015.
Pimentel, 17, of Teaneck, and 19 other Jersey girls competed in the “Rockin’ the Crown” themed pageant at Millville High School on Saturday evening.
“I wasn’t expecting to win, but I felt confident,” Pimentel said. “There are so many other girls that I competed with that deserve the job of NJOT and I’m just so blessed to carry on this legacy.”
The former Miss Cape Shores Outstanding Teen competed in last year’s competition and was first-runner-up. This year, Pimentel will be featured at the Miss New Jersey Pageant in June and will travel to Florida to participate in the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant in July.
“Since this was my second time, I was more relaxed and knew what to expect,” she said. “I worked hard every day to be the best me I could be.”
Pimentel succeeds 2014 Miss New Jersey Outstanding Teen, Samantha Rizzuto.
“There were so many talented and accomplished contestants, and I’m honored to now call Shereen a NJOT sister,” Rizzuto said.
Special guest and hostess Miss New Jersey Cierra Kaler-Jones echoed Rizzuto, welcoming Pimentel to the Miss New Jersey family.
“I can’t believe this happened, and I’m excited for her year ahead,” said Jones, while hugging Pimentel after she was crowned.
Pimentel wants to elevate her platform “Words Hurt — Erase the Hate” during her reign. The pageant queen has been visiting local high schools discussing the harms of bullying but plans to take it a step further by speaking to elementary schoolchildren.
“If we instill the message while they are young, children have a better chance at carrying those positive habits throughout their life,” Pimentel said.
Four local ladies competed: Kennedy Stillman, 17, of Somers Point, Madison Kennelly, 16, of Marmora in Upper Township, Michelle Wanner, 16, of Egg Harbor Township, and Augostina Mallous, 13, of Cape May Court House.
Stillman received the Lifestyle and Fitness Award. Kennelly took home two awards for community service and the Silvia Barthold award, presented by the hosts for being the most helpful teen to her pageant sisters throughout the program.
“There’s a lot you can take away from pageants, and I’ve reached all my goals,” Kennelly said. “Along the way, I’ve met great friends. It’s really like a sisterhood.”
Kennelly competed for the title in 2012 and 2013. Although she has aged-out of the teen category, Kennelly said, the experience has prepared and pumped her to participate in other Miss America Program pageants.
Other winners Saturday include: first-runner up Madison Welsh , 16, Westville, Gloucester County; second-runner up Jess D’Agostino, 16, Holmdel, Monmouth County; third-runner up, Cianna Winkler, 15, Verona, Essex County; and fourth runner-up Grace Herdelin, 15, Haddonfield, Camden County.
Contact Sekia Mangum: