Grand Falls-Windsor continues to dominate the provincial pageant scene.
Emily Bland was crowned Miss Teen Newfoundland and Labrador 2012 Sunday evening at the gala in St. John's.
"I'm still in shock," Bland told the Advertiser on Tuesday. "It doesn't feel real at all because this is something that I wanted for a while. I keep looking down at the sash like ‘this isn't real. This is a dream.'"
The 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Exploits Valley High has a current academic average over 90 per cent. She brought her smarts to the competition, and won the Miss Teen Academic award for scoring the highest on the academic test in the competition.
She also won the Miss Teen Talent award for her piano piece.
"When I got announced in the top three for talent, that was memorable," Bland said. "I was absolutely shocked because there were so many girls with amazing talents.
The 2011 Miss Grand Falls-Windsor, Teryn Grey, was first-runner up overall, and also a runner-up in the talent portion.
Grey is a 17-year-old Grade 12 student at Exploits Valley High.
Brittany Noseworthy of Botwood also competed this weekend. Noseworthy is a 13-year-old Grade 8 student at Botwood Collegiate.
In the preliminary competition, contestants are involved in a personal interview, academic test, fitness test and on-stage casual and eveningwear.
The judges then narrow down the competitions to the top 10, whose preliminary score is added to a score on a prepared speech.
The judges then choose the top five, who answer an impromptu question, and score from that is added to the preliminary and speech scores.
It was a busy weekend, Bland said. Among other events, they toured Confederation Building, Signal Hill and went glow bowling, and they had presentations from Miss Teen Canada-World and Miss Universes-Canada and The Hair Force.
"You had to be ready, out by your door by 8 a.m. and you don't get (back) until 11 p.m. every night," Bland said. "We also got to meet His and Her Honour (Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador John Crosbie and his wife Jane Furneaux Crosbie) and that was an amazing opportunity."
But it was all worthwhile, fun and exciting, she said, adding she was able to get closer with the returning contestants, and meet new friends as well.
"There were so many amazing girls out there and I am going to stay friends with them forever," she said.
Along with keeping up her average in school, Bland has had a long list of extra-curricular activities over the years including writing columns for the Advertiser, piano, swimming, sewing, social actions, mathletes, voice, competitive cheerleading, is involved in running club, volleyball, floor hockey, basketball, and soccer, coaches volleyball, basketball and soccer, is on the graduation steering committee and yearbook committee, is involved in Sparks and Brownies, public speaking, private tutoring, yoga, Zumba and works on her parent's farm.
She won the Miss Teen Central Newfoundland 2010-2011, was second-runner up in Miss Teen Newfoundland and Labrador 2011, and competed in the Miss Teen Canada-World Pageant in 2011.
"I fell in love with it last year," Bland said. "Miss Teen NL is an amazing experience. Just to get to go to it is a huge opportunity. You meet friends who are going to last forever. You learn a lot about yourself and you gain confidence up on that stage."
Bland has won numerous awards including Kiwanis Music Festival and sports awards, and placed high in math competitions and Visual Arts Society contests. She completed a Grade 4 Royal Conservatory Exam, and is currently completing the bronze level of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Among all that, she still has time to volunteer with a number of organizations. She is an avid blood donor, spends time at senior's homes, has been involved with fundraisers for the Children's Wish Foundation, the Relay For Life, World Vision, Free the Children charity, and has organized fundraisers for the school's sponsor child since Grade 6. She also organized a central female soccer team and is fundraising to compete out of province, and created the Little Miss and Little Mister Grand Falls-Windsor, and choreographed all the routines.
Though she is unsure exactly where this title will take her, Bland said she is hopeful national pageants are in her future, but for now she would like to take in a lot of events and tour the province as much as possible.
"I want to spend my reign doing a lot of work with the Children's Wish Foundation and events," Bland said. "I get a photo shoot with Sara Rostotski which is an amazing opportunity in itself."