News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, November 15, 2018
Deer Isle teen prepares for Miss Maine Teen USA pageant

Grace Morey

Grace Morey, recognized as an All-American dancer-cheerleader by the National Cheerleaders’ Association, was also nominated to the national team.

Photo courtesy of Amber Jones

by Anne Berleant

Beauty, confidence and drive—those are the attributes that can win a pageant title.

But for Deer Isle resident Grace Morey, one of 25 teens statewide selected for the Miss Maine Teen USA 2019 pageant, the idea of a beauty contest took some getting used to.

“At first I was kind of iffy on the whole thing,” Morey said. “In the end, I ended up loving the whole idea of it. It’s not the cliché you see on TV.”

Contestants will model active wear and evening gowns at the pageant, and participate in a personal interview to determine which of the 25 teen contestants move on from the preliminary round November 24. The winner will be chosen the next day during the final rounds.

“If I win, I will move on to not only represent Deer Isle/Stonington but the entire state of Maine at the Miss Teen USA 2019 Pageant,” Morey said.

For Morey, the pageant is a way to “get my name out there,” as both an aspiring model and a cheerleader, chosen as an All-American at a three-day summer camp at Husson this year. She was named best cheer dancer at the camp, captained the eighth and ninth grade camp team, and was pinned for an All-American leadership role and nominated for an All-American National Team position. For the latter, Morey will travel to Disney World in Florida to be part of a team parade at the end of this month.

Morey started cheering in sixth grade. In eighth grade she met Amber Jones, now the Deer Isle-Stonington middle and high school cheering coach who also runs Island Cheer and Tumbling.

“She’s been such a huge part of my life ever since,” Morey said.

For Jones, Morey is a role model to the younger participants in Island Cheer and Tumbling and as an assistant coach to her “mini” cheer teams and middle school team.

“She’s been the steamroller of my programs as she’s the oldest kid of my original group,” Jones said. “Grace reaches high, and works hard. That’s why she will always be successful. I can’t wait to see what she does in her last years of high school on the mat and off. [She is] an overall great kid to represent our school and community on the big stages she will see this month.”

But cheering and evening gown competitions are only one part of Morey’s high school focus. Sophomore class president, student council member, math team and yearbook committee member, Morey is also an honor roll student enrolled in the Eastern Maine Skippers’ Program, a concentration that will help her towards her future academic goal—studying environmental science at the college level, while, she hopes, continuing to cheer.

“I have an extreme interest in climate change,” Morey said. “I would like to take [the Miss Maine Teen USA] title and share my interest and passion.”

DISHS Principal Dennis Duquette said that Morey’s example is already a boon to the island high school.

“Having Grace be so involved, with her drive and passion, I think it helps project the school forward,” he said. “Any time you get someone with initiative it puts a spotlight on [the student] but also on the school and town.”

The Miss Maine Teen USA 2019 Pageant will be held in Portland at the Marriott Sable Oaks on November 24 at 8 p.m. and the final rounds on November 25 at 3 p.m. One contestant will be guaranteed a spot in the final rounds through online voting at missteenmaineusa.com. Each vote costs one dollar, with proceeds donated to Miss Pink Organization, supporting those undergoing breast cancer treatment and their families. There is no limit to the number of times one person can vote; voting ends at 12 p.m. on November 25.