Miss Greater Rockville looks back on her year, before passing crown on

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon/Rockville - posted Thu., Feb. 6, 2014
Miss Greater Rockville Gina Salvatore helps with cooking class at the Community School at Maple Street School on Jan. 28. Photo by Steve Smith.
Miss Greater Rockville Gina Salvatore helps with cooking class at the Community School at Maple Street School on Jan. 28. Photo by Steve Smith.

A new Miss Greater Rockville will be crowned on Feb. 15. As she prepares to crown her successor, Miss Greater Rockville 2013 Gina Salvatore said the past year changed her life, and she hopes it will do that and more for the next young woman to carry that title.

Salvatore, a 20-year-old junior studying acting at UConn, said her crown really helped her “grow up” in a lot of ways, including further developing her love for community service and being a mentor to children.

“I look back at the day I was crowned, compared to now, and I grew up,” she said. “I’ve always been a ‘community’ person, but in a smaller sense. Now I have a greater sense of that, like the community of Rockville. My love for community service is the number-one thing that has changed for me over the past year. There’s something about how I was able to go out in the community and help this year.”

She also developed a special kinship with many students at Maple Street School, and hopes to continue to visit, even after her reign. “That school and the kids there gave me so much,” she said. “That began because they wanted to be friends with the girl with the crown, but I wanted to take it a step further. I hung out with them and got to know some of them on a more personal level. I saw them at Field Day in May and played sports with them, and when I saw them in December they told me they had picked up playing basketball because I played sports, too. It’s great to know that because of me, someone else made an improvement in their life, or tried something new. That’s a powerful connection to make.”

Salvatore said she hopes the local community reaped some benefits from having a local representative at the Miss Connecticut scholarship competition, but also feels that some may take a while longer to embrace what the program is really all about.

“I know a lot people aren’t open to the whole idea of pageants,” she said. “It may take a long time for the people in this area to grow into it, but I think more people are becoming responsive to it. When I talk to people at events, they don’t understand the scholarship piece of it, and the community service piece, but when they realize that is what we’re here for, that changes a lot of minds. I think I’ve been able to do that for a lot of people.”

As for the next Miss Greater Rockville, Salvatore said, “I hope that she gets so much support from the community. I hope everyone loves her. I feel like I did a good job at local events, and made a name for myself, and I hope she takes that a step further and does 10 times more events than I did, and that people recognize her when she walks into the room. The kids in Rockville deserve to have someone in the community that is a great role model for them.”

She will have a chance to get to know the new Miss Greater Rockville, as the two will both take part in the Miss Connecticut competition in June. Salvatore won the title of Miss Greater Waterbury at a pageant in Beacon Falls on Jan. 18, and will assume those duties after giving up her Rockville crown. She is also looking forward to finishing her junior year at school, finding a summer job, and possibly taking on the title of Miss Connecticut.

“If the next step for me is to be Miss Connecticut, that would be really cool,” she said.

The Miss Greater Rockville Scholarship Pageant will take place Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at Rockville High School. A new Miss Greater Rockville’s Outstanding Teen will also be crowned. For more information, visit the Miss Greater Rockville Scholarship Organization on Facebook.

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