ST. MARYS — The current Miss Ohio, Elissa McCracken, spoke to residents, played piano and was the celebrity bingo caller at Golden Living Valley in St. Marys Tuesday to honor National Nursing Home week.
“It’s really a way just to give back. This year for me, as Miss Ohio, has been all about service. If I can bring a smile to their face by visiting and listening to their story, then absolutely. Everyone should do it...it’s important to take the time to do that.”
McCracken won Miss Ohio in June, and competed in the Miss America competition in January. She won more than $30,000 in scholarships to support her six year program in pharmacy studies at Ohio Northern University.
Her personal platform that she brings to the role is a stance against cyber-bullying.
“I myself was cyber-bullied,” she said. Now she talks to students about the harmfulness of negative internet communications while she travels as the pageant’s representative in a full-time job around the state. She had to take a year off of schooling to take on the role of Miss Ohio, and will return next fall as a fourth-year student.
When she meets young people, she said, they ask her if she grew up like the girls in the popular reality television series, “Toddlers in Tiaras,” but she explained that her own experience was very different.
She didn’t begin competing in pageants until middle school and high school. Competing, she said, helped her overcome a natural shyness, and brought her out of her shell.
“I just love the growth that I’ve seen in myself,” she said. “I try to break that stereotype that pageant girls are stuck up, or just a pretty-pretty princess by just being myself and trying to tell them what we do. We don’t just prance around in high heels. It’s a big job, working for this organization for a year. I’ve learned a lot.”