Abby Foster heads to Miss America contest

Rose Hawkins, Correspondent

Independent News                                

“There she goes, Miss America.” Abby Foster, of Oakwood, is hoping to hear those words sung about her on September 10th. 

As 2017 Miss Illinois, she has spent the last several days in Atlantic City, New Jersey with events leading up to the Miss America Pageant. 

The 2018 Miss America Competition follows three days of Preliminary Competitions and two weeks of various Miss America events held on and around the famed Atlantic City Boardwalk. The 52 contestants will also participate in the celebrated, fan-favorite “Show Us Your Shoes” Parade, which will travel along a two-mile route on the Atlantic City Boardwalk Saturday, September 9.

Abby is a junior at Ball State, working toward a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. Her platform is Youth Mentoring - The Building Blocks for Success. She joined College Mentors for Kids (a program that connects college students with children who need a role model) and her life was forever changed. 

“At the age of nine years old, I was diagnosed with a disease that affected my nervous system and made it impossible to dance. I couldn't even walk for over a year. Recovery was long and tedious, and when I got better, I vowed to never allow anything to keep me from doing the one thing that I had loved since I was three years old - dance. And, dancing is my talent in the Miss America Pageant, said Foster.”

“I chose Mentoring as my Platform because mentoring can make a huge impact on children's lives,” she said. “Matching up children with role models can have positive effects not only with one child, but also on future generations.”

Abby, herself, has a mentor helping her prepare for the Pageants. Amy Jo Thompson. Amy has had a lot of experience in the pageant world, from mentor to the contestants, to Choreographer, Board member, Director and Judge. “I love working with these girls,” Thompson admits. “And Abby Foster is one of the best!”

Amy set up an interview practice for Abby with Vermilion County Board Chairman, Mike Marron; Dr Stephen Nacco, President of DACC; and Judge Thomas O'Shaughnessy. Marron, Nacco and O'Shaughnessy asked questions potential to the Miss America interview, then discussed with her how her answers were spot-on, or could be improved, giving her tips and encouragement.  

Thompson has supported Abby from the beginning and will travel to the Miss America Pageant, in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey,  along with her husband Chuck. 

Also, attending the competion will be around 72 friends and family members including former Miss Vermilion County Fair Queens Katie Brown, Amie Harvey, and Carley Strader. 

“It would be such an honor to become Miss America." Abby said. “But another perk is the scholarship, I would be able to graduate from college debt free.”  

The Miss America Organization, a non-profit corporation, is the largest scholarship program for women in the United States. It is comprised of 52 licensed organizations which includes all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The contestants have raised over $15 million for ­Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals since 2007. It's one of the nation's leading achievement programs for young women. 

Judges on the final night of competition will include country singer, Thomas Rhett; actress, author, and model, Molly Sims; Grammy-nominated singer and actress, Jordin Sparks; PEOPLE magazine's Editor in Chief, Jess Cagle; journalist, actress, and CEO of AfterBuzz TV, Maria Menounos; and former Miss America 2014, Nina Davuluri.

Be sure to watch, and root for Abby, Sunday, September 10, at 9 pm EST on ABC.

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