Courtesy of Mandy McQueen Photography Front, from left, Madison Hill, Paisley Prendergast and Abigail Moses. Back, Bailey Soucy, Lindsay Merrill, Maylinda Boynton and Ruthie Gusler. Not pictured, Cassidy Carr.

SOUTH PORTLAND — The Double Tree Hotel was the setting for the Sept. 13, 12th annual Maine Academic Scholarship Pageant (MASP) and Green Carpet Fundraiser Event for Crossroads Youth Center. This year’s fundraiser took on a different look with virtual competitions and entertainment, mask and a strict safety policy! Over 100 Maine women, babies and young ladies vied for their respective titles to compete nationally for over $300,000 in prizes and scholarships at the USA National Miss Scholarship Pageant and the American Women of Service National Pageant.

During their reign, the new titleholders will have the opportunity to represent the Unite Against Bullying ME, Crown CARES project in Maine Schools and communities. The titleholders will be traveling to Disney in Orlando, Florida in July of 2021 to compete for the national titles and Portland Maine for AWOS National Pageant next July. The ladies crowned were:

Maylinda Boynton, 23, was crowned USA National Miss Maine 2021. Maylinda is a 2019 Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Maine with two bachelor’s degrees in music education and political science. She is currently pursuing a masters’ degree in human development with a concentration in childhood trauma also at the University of Maine. She enjoys a variety of community service, with a strong focus on music education and collegiate student wellness and mental health. She donates a significant amount of time to her volunteer work. Along with the state title, she was awarded the prestigious Gold President’s Volunteer Service Award as well as overall Miss Maine Role Model and Spokesmodel. Maylinda is the daughter of Dana and Susan Boynton of Belfast and Islesboro. First runner=up and crowned Miss Maine AWOS was Abigail Brackett of Old Town.

Cassidy Carr, 16, was crowed USA National Miss Maine Teen 2021. She is a junior at Calais High School and is a member of the student council, academic decathlon, band, volleyball team, and tennis team. In her spare time, Cassidy enjoys volunteering and giving back to her community with her non-profit The Perfect Pillow Project through which she donates pillows and blankets to those in need. She is also passionate about promoting the Crown CARES, educating children and peers about the effect of bullying and how to prevent it. Cassidy is very committed to serving others and has been awarded four gold presidential service awards. Cassidy has previously held the title of 2017 Miss Pine Tree State and 2019 Miss Maine Jr. teen. At last year’s national pageant she was awarded the title of USA National Role Model for her dedication to serving her community. Cassidy is the daughter of Mark and Shannon Carr of Calais. First runner-up and Miss Maine AWOS was Katie Brayson of Bangor.

Ruthie Gusler,13, was crowned USA National Miss Maine Junior Teen 2021. Ruthie lives at her family’s farm in Phillips and is an eighth-grader at Phillips Middle School where she excels at academics and sports. She has served as both senator and governor and has been nominated for president of the Student Government this year. Ruthie never misses an opportunity to discuss the Crown CARES anti-bullying platform and sustainable farming. In 2018 Ruthie was the recipient of the prestigious State of Maine Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award. She has received the Presidential Gold Service Award four years in a row with over 3,000 verified and accredited hours of volunteer service. Ruthie has also received volunteer awards from the Masons, New Beginnings Teen Shelter, and a volunteer Service ribbon with the Civil Air Patrol where she is an Element Leader and recently earned the rank of Staff Sergeant. Some additional highlights of Ruthie’s accomplishments includes the 20142020 Maine State Junior Olympic vault, beam, and floor Gymnastics Champion, represented the USA at the World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pan Games (first girl from Maine to ever participate and win a Bronze medal, New England BJJ Champion and Black Fly Maine State Jiu-jitsu All around Belt Champion.

Ruthie also donates and raises funds for as many Charities as she can, The American Heart Association, Travis Mills Foundation, Crossroads Youth Center, Tap Out Cancer Jiu jitsu, and New Beginnings Teen Homeless Shelter. During the COVID-9 crisis Ruthie assisted Dr Susie Sanders PHD, in providing the Communities children with Arts and Crafts projects, books and how-to videos, raising money and collecting food for the Food Pantry and Blessing Box. You can follow Ruthie’s UNM Pageant and life journey on Instagram and Facebook site -USA National Miss Maine Junior Teen Ruthie Gusler. First runner-up and Miss Maine Jr. Teen was Taylor Lombard of Portland.

Bailey Soucy, 10, was crowned the 2021 USA National Miss Maine Preteen. She is a fifth-grader at Southside Elementary School and the co-president of Student Council. Bailey has enjoyed studying dance at Houlton School of Dance for six years. Along with the state title, she was awarded the Silver Presidential Award. Bailey has received a total of four Presidential Awards for her community service hours. She enjoys giving back to the community though community services and promoting the Crown CARES. Bailey previously held the title of USA National Miss Maine Princess in 2018. Bailey is the daughter of Lori Soucy of Houlton. First runner-up and Miss Elementary was Miranda Torrey of Lisbon.

Abigail Moses, age 8, was crowned the 2021 USA National Miss Maine Princess. Abigail recently entered the third grade at Calais Elementary School in Calais Abigail is active in ballet, tap dancing, baton, cheerleading and tumbling. Over the past year, Abigail contributed eighty-six hours of her time supporting local community and charitable events. Along with her state title, she was crowned the 2021 USA National Miss Maine Junior Talent, dancing to ‘Orange Blossom Special’ choregraphed by her dance teacher and mentor, Barbara Lara. Abigail is loved and supported by her family, parents Joe and Kim, and brothers Ryan and Jacob. First runner-up and crowned Miss Primary was Ava Perreault.

Madison Hill, 6 of Poland was crowned the 2021 USA National Miss Maine Jr Princess. Madison is a student at Poland Community School and is currently in the first grade. In her spare time Madison enjoys horseback riding, dancing, and tumbling. Madison has been tumbling and dancing for five years at Hold Your Head High Dance Studio in Norway. Madison enjoys spending time with her church family at Pathway Vineyard in Lewiston where she is involved in the kids church programs. Madison enjoys creating new artwork, and playing with her twin sister Mackenzie and older brother Wyatt. Madison is the daughter of Monique Lebel of Poland and Levi Hill of Bethel. First runner-up was Savanah Storey of Calais.

Paisley Prendergast, 4, was crowned your 2021 USA National Miss Pine Tree State for her outstanding role of raising the most funds for Crossroads and was also the People’s Choice Winner. In her spare time Paisley enjoys tumbling classes and playing with her six siblings. Paisley is the daughter of Christopher and Jolene Prendergast of Corinna  Her runner-up in the Pine Tree division was Ruthie Gusler.

The American Women of Service titles awarded were:

Lyndsay Merrill, 26, was crowned the 2021 Ms. Maine American Women of Service. Lyndsay is a 2017 Suma Cum Laude graduate of Husson University with a degree in sports management and a master of business administration. Lyndsay is currently employed at SIG SAUER Inc, as the Social Media Coordinator. She is a Bronze Presidential Volunteer Service Award winner where she enjoys giving back to her community by reading children’s books, donating goods to the Saco Food Pantry and local First Responder Organizations. Lyndsay is also the creator of her personal platform, Livin’ Lean with Lyndsay. An awareness platform for healthy living. When not competing, you can find Lyndsay either in the gym getting her workout in or enjoying the outdoors with her pup Oakley. Lyndsay is the daughter of Mary & Jim Merrill of Bethel. First runner-up was Mikele Block of Bangor.

The Christenbury Award and Scholarship was awarded to Miss Maine 2020, Faith Brackett and the David R. Loeser Award and Scholarship went to Paige Lessard. Over $25,000 was awarded in college scholarships to young women in 2020 including the six first runner-ups will represent the Young American Women of Service, which is a noncompetitive community service-based program for females age 4 up and will attend the American Women of Service National Pageant in Portland Maine next summer.

Crossroads held the second competition for Maine’s Cutest Baby with seven amazing babies from all over the state. Juliet Reynolds of Bangor took home the cutest baby of the year.

YAWOS was founded to empower all women across the country to become the best version of themselves possible through service. The mission is to encourage youth to serve in their communities and to create a positive, encouraging, and empowering sisterhood of youth and teens who are interested in motivating others through community and civic involvement, as positive role models through service. The service platform is to promote and educate the community of bullying prevention and positive social behaviors at any ages and in all areas of life.

USA National Miss Scholarship Pageant has been named the number one pageant in the US by Pageant Planet and the Maine pageant has been named in the top two state pageant and top two state directorship going to executive director and Crossroads president, Deb Landry. American Women of Service, in its  fourth year, a program of Crossroads, was named in the top ten programs for women lead by Executive Director, Jasmine DeRier. For more information on the pageants, school visits, appearances and volunteering visit the website at www.missmainepageant.com  or UniteAgainstBullyingME.org.