ORONO, Maine — A University of Maine dean’s list student from Saco has been crowned Miss Collegiate America 2011.
Shannon Folsom, 20, an Honors College sophomore majoring in kinesiology and fulfilling pre-med requirements, was crowned Saturday, Jan. 8, at the Miss Collegiate America Pageant in San Antonio, according to a recent UMaine news release. She will receive a $10,000 college scholarship, plus a generous wardrobe stipend for her year of service traveling around the nation.
Folsom says her reaction to being crowned was a “combination of overwhelming shock and gratitude.”
She will return to San Antonio in March to attend and perform at the Miss High School America Pageant. Like her parents, Ed and Lauren Folsom of Saco, who are UMaine graduates, Shannon Folsom is a singer. Also an accomplished actress, she has performed in more than 20 plays and musicals, plays violin and has received many awards from baton-twirling competitions as a child.
Folsom is described by Miss Collegiate America Pageant Director Amanda Patterson as a bright, articulate and dedicated community volunteer “who just captivated the judges.”
Pageant judges considered contestants’ academic achievement, community service experience and answers in a personal interview. It did not have a swimsuit or talent component, according to Landry, who, with Saco-area physician Christine Blake, the 2010 Mrs. Maine-America titleholder, coached Folsom in preparation for competition.
“Being named Miss Collegiate America is a huge honor, and represents years of hard work in pageantry and stage performance,” Folsom says. “I’m so blessed to have worked with such amazing directors — Christine Blake and Deb Landry — and to have so much support from my family and friends.”
Folsom, who was selected as Miss Collegiate Maine in November 2010, will relinquish that crown to pageant first runner-up Kristy Huff, also a University of Maine dean’s list student, from Burnham, Maine, majoring in psychology.
Folsom previously represented the state as Miss Maine Outstanding Teen 2008 in a national competition. Though she did not win that crown, she did win a four-year scholarship to Troy University for having one of the highest GPAs of all 52 contestants. She says she passed up Troy to attend UMaine.
A top 10 student at Thornton Academy in Saco, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, she was the recipient of 15 undergraduate awards for academic achievement and several for community service.
In addition to her studies at UMaine, Folsom emphasizes her commitment to working with youth and promoting healthy lifestyle choices to protect children from obesity and diabetes and remaining at UMaine.
“Luckily, the national organization is very understanding of the amount of work required of college students, and I will not be required to take time off from school during my year as Miss Collegiate America,” she says.