Miss Connecticut 2013 crowned

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Statewide - posted Tue., Jun. 25, 2013
The new Miss Connecticut titleholders pose for a photo with Sam Haskell, III - the chairman of the Miss America organization - who attended the Miss Connecticut competition for the first time. Photos by Steve Smith.
The new Miss Connecticut titleholders pose for a photo with Sam Haskell, III - the chairman of the Miss America organization - who attended the Miss Connecticut competition for the first time. Photos by Steve Smith.

Kaitlyn Tarpey of Stamford was crowned Miss Connecticut 2013 on June 22 at the Garde Arts Center in New London.

Tarpey is a 21-year-old student at the Honors College at PACE University. She began competing in the Miss Connecticut Pageant two years ago after surviving an almost-fatal lung surgery.

A very talented field of 20 contestants competed for the title, with Miss America Chairman of the Board Sam Haskell, III, in attendance. Tarpey said she had a “wonderful time with wonderful young women” during pageant week.

Tarpey will compete for the title of Miss America in September, as the national pageant returns to the city where it originated - Atlantic City, New Jersey.

When the final moment came, and she was standing on stage with eventual runner-up Alyssa Taglia, Tarpey said she gave Taglia words of encouragement, telling her that either way, Connecticut would have a quality titleholder. After the announcement was made, Tarpey told Taglia “to take advantage of going to the Sweetheart pageant [an annual pageant in Hoopston, Ill., to which Miss America Organization state runners-up are invited], and to grow.”

Tarpey said that besides working on her platform, she hopes to help the Miss Connecticut organization grow, including bringing more sponsors on board, and helping with recruitment. “I’d like to see more than 30 girls competing for Miss Connecticut next year,” she said. “I would love to recruit more young women.” She said another goal, naturally, is to be a top 15 finalist, and hopefully take the top prize, at the Miss America competition.

Shortly after her crowning, Tarpey learned of the simultaneous crowning of friend Carly Mathis as Miss Georgia. The two had become close at the Miss Sweetheart competition last summer. “I need to call her,” Tarpey said, choking back tears of excitement. “This is going to be the most amazing year of my life. I'm so excited.”

Having family members who have served in the military and are now struggling to acclimate back into society, she has made it her priority to educate others and help veterans as much as she can. Tarpey is involved with multiple veterans’ organizations including the CT Fallen Heroes Foundation, the Purple Heart Foundation and the National Veterans Services Fund.

Being a competitive Irish Step Dancer since the age of 8, she presents a contemporary Irish Step Dancing routine for the talent portion of the competition. And though she might appear fully-Irish, Tarpey was actually born in France. She has a 19-year-old brother who is attending the College of William and Mary on a full athletic scholarship.

After learning that the Miss America Organization is the largest provider of scholarships in the world, Tarpey decided to participate in a local pageant. After joining the organization, Tarpey realized the voice it gave her in the community and she fell in love with the idea of being a local leader.

Extremely well-spoken, 15-year-old Krystiana Bouchard of Southington was crowned Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen at the same pageant. Bouchard attends the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and promotes the platform of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Her grandmother has the disease, and Bouchard became choked up in a post-pageant press conference, where she said she is determined to make a difference and effect a positive influence on the MS community.

Bouchard was runner-up in 2012, and when she was standing as one of the last two contestants this year, she said she was again “really nervous.”

“But, I was very confident in my performance the last three nights, so I am just very honored to be standing here as Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen.”

She said the finals night was a bit of a roller coaster of emotion for her. “I was really happy one minute, and the next I felt like I was going to cry,” she said. “I was relieved when it was all over.”

Bouchard performed a lyrical dance to “I Don’t Know My Own Strength,” and will compete for the title of Miss America's Outstanding Teen in August in Orlando, Fla.

Notable contestants from Eastern Connecticut include Brooklyn's Valerie Voccio, who was third-runner up in the “Miss” competition; Miss Greater Rockville's Outstanding Teen Jeanette Porcello of South Windsor also made top 10 in the Teen division.

For more information, visit www.missctamerica.org.

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