Shaker High School Sophomore Kelly Hoffman was not expecting to win the title of Miss New York National Teenager in only the second pageant she had ever entered.
But the teen said it is her commitment to community service that qualified her for the position.
The National American Miss Pageant looks for students who display outstanding community involvement, intelligence and, of course, beauty.
Hoffman, 16, said there were several levels to the contest, which was held in January, including a phone interview, photos that were submitted and tapes from prior pageants so that judges could see Hoffman's modeling skills. Her modeling skills were shown through videos of a pageant she had entered in 2008 for National American Miss, in which she placed eighth.
They looked at academic achievement, community service and extra-curricular activities, Hoffman said of the kinds of questions she was asked during the interview process.
Hoffman, a ballet and jazz dancer, said it was not until February that she found out that she had won the title of the 2009 Miss New York National Teenager.
"I was so excited. It's a really incredible opportunity," she said. "I'm really honored to be New York State's queen."
With that role, Hoffman has some duties to uphold.
"Basically, we try to promote the program in any way we can; we try to be good role models," Hoffman said of her duties.
The pageant is partnered with the Boys and Girls Club organization, Hoffman said, so winners are asked to do activities with the local branch.
"I'm starting a drama club there next week for 8-to-13-year-olds. I hope it will help them come out of their shells, and it's going to be a lot of fun," she said.
As if being handed a crown and sash were not enough for the high school student, Hoffman received another honor last month upon winning her title.