Delaware kicked off one of the busiest pageant competition weekends of the year on Friday by crowning Chelsea Bruce the new Miss Delaware. Bruce will represent the state this September at the Miss America 2018 pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Atlantic City is familiar territory for Bruce. She grew up in New Jersey before relocating to Delaware to attend the University Of Delaware, where she studies economics and political science.

Her ambition is to enter law school and become an attorney. When not studying, Bruce is a ballet dance instructor to children.

She will promote her platform, “Destigmatizing Mental Illness,” during her reign as Miss Delaware. She entered the state pageant as Miss Newark. When she travels to the Miss America pageant, she will perform a contemporary dance number in the talent competition.

Delaware at Miss America

If she is crowned Miss America, Bruce will become the first contestant from Delaware to reign as the top miss. Six Delaware participants have finished as semi-finalists at the national pageant since the state began participating in the 1920s.

The state did not begin fielding a contestant at the national level every year until the 1950s. Among noteworthy former title holder is Miss Delaware 1976 Debora Rica Lipford, She was the first Mexican-American named to the top 10 at a Miss America pageant.

In recent years, she has been a leader in pro-life causes.

Teen contestants

The Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization also sponsors the Miss Delaware’s Outstanding Teen competition.

The pageant is for girls ages 12-17 years. They compete for scholarships in many of the same categories as older contestants, with one exception being the swimsuit competition.

The teen pageant hosts an active wear category instead. Nicole Hannah is this year’s state titleholder in the teen category. She travels to Orlando, Florida later this summer to compete in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant.

Last year’s teen miss, Ashley Swanson, earned the Outstanding Achievement in Academic Life Award at the national pageant.

Several teen contestants from Delaware have earned academic and talent awards at the national pageant since it began participating in the program in 2005.

Miss America on ABC

The Miss America pageant is scheduled, to begin with, preliminary competitions on Sept. 6. Following three days of preliminaries, the contestants will participate in the Sept. 9 'Show Us Your Shoes Parade' in Atlantic City. A new Miss America will be chosen on Sept. 10. The final night of pageantry and the crowning of the new miss will be televised live over the ABC television network.