SPRINGFIELD Alicia Yates is the winner of the 2007 Miss Massachusetts Talented Teen Scholarship Competition.
After winning the state preliminary, the High School of Commerce sophomore is set to compete in Hal Jackson's Talented Teen International in July.
When she spoke with Reminder Publications she was still thrilled about her recent crowning.
"Words can't express [how I feel] and I can't believe it's still mine," Yates said.
She said she entered the competition for a new experience and ended up bonding with the other girls.
"I'm closer to them than a lot of people I've known for years," she shared.
Massachusetts Talented Teens Scholarship Program promotes youth development through scholastic achievement, etiquette, artistic talent, and camaraderie.
Yates has an ambitious activity schedule that seems to mirror the goal of the pageant.
She is a member of her high school's step team and is also very active in her church participating in various youth programs and contributing to the choir.
She said her motivation is to "stay busy and stay off the streets."
She describes herself as fun and outgoing and said in the future, "I want to be an obstetrician. Working with women and babies interests me."
So does singing. Sticking with what worked at the local pageant, she will be singing "A Whole New World" (the theme song to the movie "Aladdin") again for the international competition.
Over the course of eight days in New York City, Yates will prepare and compete against 30 other girls from around the world July 21-29.
You can hear the excitement in Yates' voice when she spoke about meeting other people from places like Bermuda.
Her message to other young women her age? "Don't stop," she said. "Reach for your goal."