A 20-year old Corvallis native has won the Miss Oregon Scholarship Pageant held in Seaside.
Caroline McGowan was crowned during the Ceremonies July 2 at the Seaside Civic and Convention Center.
"I am elated," said McGowan. "I am overwhelmed. I feel so glad. I can't wait to talk to my family. I didn't expect to win. I was shocked."
McGowan said she was inspired to enter the pageant because she had reached an impasse in her life.
"I had always considered women who hold themselves to a high standard to be role models," she said. "So I decided there is nothing that should hold me back from putting myself to that higher standard. I got involved in the pageant and to find my best self."
Dana Phillips, Miss Oregon Scholarship Program and Pageant CEO and executive director, said selecting just one finalist is really difficult.
"Because you fall in love with all the contestants," Phillips said. "You see how hard they work. That's why we ask five judges to come in. It is their selective opinion and that is whom they crown."
Phillips said preparations for the next Miss Oregon Program are already underway.
"Oh yes. We have already started designing the stage, our music and show. We have a year round job to do," said Phillips.
She noted that the pageant has been in Seaside for 65 years and was launched to help bring visitors to the area during the summer.
"This community is unbelievable with its support for the pageant," Phillips said. "As long as I am involved it will stay here in Seaside. We have 22 young ladies from around the state and with their family and friends coming in to support them, we figured out that $1 million is brought into this community with this program."
Miss Clatsop County, Jessica Humble of Seaside and Miss North Coast, Alyssa Sanders of Tillamook were also in the pageant but did not make the ten finalists.
McGowan, Nichole Mead, Miss Marion - Polk, Miss, Southern Gem, Kaitkin Enders, Miss Tri Valley, Elizabeth May Denny, and Miss Portland, Alexandria Henderson, were the five finalists in the pageant.
McGowan will compete in the Miss America Pageant next January in Las Vegas.