Use this search box to find articles that have run in our newspapers over the last several years.

Westfield native to compete for Miss Mass. Teen crown

Date: 6/2/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD -- Sixteen-year-old Samantha Thomas of Westfield proved to be the top contestant her first time in the pageant spotlight.

Thomas was crowned Miss Western Massachusetts Outstanding Teen earlier this year and will compete for the state title in New Bedford on June 13. Provided she reigns supreme, Thomas will vie for the national title at the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Fla., this August.

"A lot of girls that entered [the Miss Western Massachusetts Outstanding Teen Pageant] were of wonderful quality it was really anyone's to win," Jami Thomas, Samantha's mother, said of her daughter's victory as a first-time contestant.

Donna Klamkin, contestant coordinator for the Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen Pageant, noted that Samantha was one of two contestants who championed a local pageant prior to acceptance into the state competition.

She explained that contestants' scholastic achievement and community service platforms are vital components of the state pageant. They are also judged on their personal interview, talent, evening wear, lifestyle and fitness sportswear and an onstage question.

Samantha, a sophomore at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Conn., has demonstrated a zeal for community activism and volunteerism at her young age. She is the co-founder of the Dancing Dreams Foundation, which annually provides two $400 scholarships to the New England Dance Center on Southwick Road, where she attends lessons.

Samantha also serves as a mentor at her school and dance studio and as a nominee to the People Student Ambassador Program. She added that her aforementioned experiences led to the formation of her platform, "Building Self Esteem in Our Youth to Prevent Domestic Violence."

Samantha said she attributes her title as Miss Western Massachusetts Outstanding Teen to a diligent work ethic, a positive attitude and willingness to have fun during competition.

"I practice my talent and walk and I have my parents quiz me in the car [with possible] interview questions [during the half-hour ride] to school," she explained. "I think as long as you try [you'll come out a winner]."

Samantha said she might not continue onto the Miss Massachusetts division next year but will carry on her community service activities, academic excellence and all other qualities that embody the Miss Western Massachusetts Outstanding Teen.

The Miss Massachusetts Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place June 13 at 6 p.m. at the Keith Middle School, 225 Hathaway Blvd., New Bedford.

Tickets will be available at the door on the night of the event or at