The candidate from Oregon and a Damascus resident shined on the national stage during the Miss America pageant, placing as the fourth runner-up.
Abigail Hayes, a Clackamas County resident who was named Miss Oregon 2021, had a great showing during the historic 100th anniversary of the Miss America Pageant. The 20-year-old, whose local title is Miss Emerald Valley, finished 5th out of 51 competitors.
She sang and played piano for "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys in the talent portion of the pageant, and her Social Impact Initiative was "Generation Youth: Tomorrow's Leaders."
The winner of Miss America 2022 was Emma Broyles, of Alaska. Lauren Bradford, Alabama; Elizabeth Pierre, Massachusetts; and Sydney Park, New York, rounded out the top finishers. The competition ran from Sunday, Dec. 12, through Thursday, Dec. 16, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
Hayes has been using her platform to help bridge gaps between generations through mentoring, regardless of someone's color or background. She wants to inspire people to eat and live healthier, support children heading into foster care, and emphasize volunteering within one's community.
She is the youngest of four and grew up on a family hobby farm. Hayes is an avid athlete who was captain of her varsity volleyball team for two years. She still coaches students from elementary through high school. Pageants are in her blood — her mother was Miss Portland.
Hayes will graduate from Liberty University next year with a strategic communications major. She also wants to earn a Juris Doctor Degree with an emphasis in family law. She is currently studying for the LSAT.
She was crowned locally last summer. The Oregon competition began in 1947 as the Miss Oregon Pageant, before being rebranded as the Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant. Contestants range in age from 17 to 24 and must win local competitions before qualifying for the state pageant.
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