Cambridge student to compete for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen
- Medford teen set for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Pageant
- Cambridge Matignon School pupil tops her class academically
- McLaughlin will showcase his musical talents
On the board of local contests and competitions since she was 8, Jenna McLaughlin, now 17, a Medford resident, will represent her home state in the upcoming Outstanding Teen Scholarship Competition. of Miss America.
McLaughlin is on her way to Dallas after winning the Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teenage title earlier this summer. Miss America Outstanding Teen will be held from Sunday, August 7 through Friday, August 12.
Singer and songwriter, McLaughlin will showcase those passions during the talent portion of the competition.
She will perform a self-arranged and transposed vocal rendition of the Beatles classic “Here Comes the Sun.”
McLaughlin said the song written by George Harrison was perfectly suited to the occasion.
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“They wanted something sunny for me [to sing,] and it’s always been my favorite song,” she said. “I think growing up I liked meeting friends [at pageants,] and have a place to sing and play. I still like those aspects, but now I like to prove that I can do hard things and grow as a person.”
A passion since childhood
McLaughlin got her start in the pageant world nine years ago as a sophomore. She said she wanted to get into the hobby as a way to sing on stage and from there the hobby blossomed into something much more.
McLaughlin went on to write a children’s book, Roxanne Takes a Stand in Second Grade with the help of illustrator Branislav Sosic. It’s a short story with the aim of inspiring kindness in girls and is inspired by the bullying McLaughlin suffered at school.
She also dabbled in acting, starring in a local commercial, alongside Chris Evans in the TV series “Defending Jacob”, and performed in numerous musical theater productions in the area.
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McLaughlin and 50 other national contestants will participate in the event leading to the August 12 coronation by Marcelle LeBlanc of Alabama, who won Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2022.
A rising senior at Cambridge Matignon School, McLaughlin is a member of the National Honor Society and has earned a place on the school’s headmaster’s list.
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She also won the Spanish Excellence Award twice during her high school career and the Academic Scholarship Merit Award for all four years.
McLaughlin maintains a 4.0 GPA, is the founder of the school’s girls’ empowerment program, recalling her mission to spread kindness while writing “Roxanne Takes a Stand,” and is part of the mock trial team from school.
Through Miss America’s Outstanding program, she won more than $4,000 in scholarships, including $3,000 for winning the state title.
Regarding the Miss America event, McLaughlin said that, like the Miss Massachusetts pageant, she was stepping into it, with no expectations, but ready to give her best performance.
“Went into [Miss Massachusetts] with an open mind,” she said. “I didn’t think, ‘Oh, I’m going home with a crown.’ The experience was the challenge in itself.”