A Yelm teen is blazing new trails.
Junior Charlease Hyder was crowned Miss Thurston County’s Outstanding Teen at the end of January.
The competition on Jan. 28 is part of the Miss America Organization Scholarship Program for those between the ages of 13 and 18. It was held at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center at South Puget Sound Community College.
Upon winning the title, Hyder was overcome with emotion.
“Honestly, I couldn’t believe it when they called my name and I was crying,” Hyder said. “If you have seen ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ where the cop was crying, and then he sucked his tears back in, that was me.”
Hyder said her mother, Tammy Martin, was a huge support system throughout the competition and encouraged her every step of the way.
“I am so grateful for her,” Hyder said.
During the competition, Hyder went through an eight minute interview as judges assessed Hyder’s resume, community impact, intelligence and political views. In the health and fitness segment, Hyder showcased her active lifestyle by performing a 20-second routine in athletic wear. For the final section, Hyder walked in formal wear on the red carpet and answered an on-stage question.
Hyder performed a rendition of “When We Were Young” by Adele for the talent portion of the competition. The Miss America Organization strongly emphasizes its social impact initiative and Hyder used her performance to express herself and bond with her community.
The Yelm teen prepared for the competition since mid-October. She attended the program’s workshops every week.
“We would meet for three hours every Sunday, but it flew by quickly,” Hyder said. “It felt like a flash.”
The competition offered more than just scholarships. Hyder walked away with over $2,700 in scholarships, as well as opportunities for photo shoots and radio interviews. Hyder will now have the opportunity to make appearances at fairs and events to promote education and share her experiences.
Hyder said she entered the competition because her best friend did it last year and said it was an excellent way to meet people and win scholarship money. Hyder recommends the competition to anyone who wants to compete and get connected with their community.
At only 17 years old and already a junior, Hyder is a busy student with a lot on her plate. She serves as choir counselor president, is involved in the musical production of “The Little Mermaid” and plays soccer. Despite her busy schedule, Hyder loves spending time with her friends and participating in extracurricular activities.
After graduating from high school, Hyder hopes to study dermatology. She is currently taking Running Start, so she will have a head start by earning her associate’s degree.
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