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Joyce Endee

Tilton girl competing for Miss Teen NH title

WRHS junior Mariah Lynn Crooker was recently named Lakes Region Teen New Hampshire USA for 2012, and will compete on Nov. 26-27 for the title of Miss New Hampshire Teen USA in Donald Trump’s national competition. The pageant is being organized by K2 Productions of Los Angeles. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
September 21, 2011
TILTON — When the lights are lit, the music begins and the curtains go up on the Miss New Hampshire Teen USA pageant in November, residents of the Lakes Region can rest assured that 16-year-old Mariah Lynn Crooker will make them proud.

A junior at Winnisquam Regional High School, Crooker is a young woman filled with passion and commitment. Those qualities could take her a long way in the competition, which will select a representative from all 50 states to vie for the title of Miss Teen USA.

Crooker said she initially ignored an invitation in the mail to apply to the program, but then thought twice about it.

"I thought, 'Oh, what the heck? Why not?' and pulled it out of the trash," she said.

She sent a photo of herself, and soon after had a phone interview with pageant representatives. To her surprise, she was then asked to travel to Manchester for a personal interview, and the rest was history, as the saying goes.

On Aug. 30, she received a letter stating, "Congratulations Mariah Lynn Cooker on being accepted as a contestant for the Miss New Hampshire Teen USA 2012 Pageant."

In all, 50 to 75 young women will compete Nov. 26-27 for two titles, one in the teen competition and the other for Miss New Hampshire USA, for older contestants.

"They told me they were impressed by the causes I support and the community service I do, so that was nice," said Crooker.

Besides her studies and duties as Class Treasurer, Crooker is registered in the National Society of High School Scholars. She holds down an after school job at a local daycare, is active in her Youth Group at Praise Assembly of God Church, has run a campus Bible study program after school, and assisted with Vacation Bible School over the summer. Music is a large part of her life, and besides singing, she is trying to learn the guitar.

On top of that, Crooker is active in many nonprofit organizations promoting positive outlooks and support for those in need. One group, Speed the Light, gathers and sends supplies and funds for travel to missionaries around the world. Invisible Children works to raise awareness about child soldiers in Uganda, to rescue them, provide educational opportunities and help them find jobs to support themselves outside the turmoil of war.

Crooker is also a part of Stand True Ministries, a pro-life group offering options for pregnant women and teens, as well as To Write Love on Her Arms.

"That's an organization for people who are depressed, to show support and help them get through it. I was there once myself, so this group means a lot to me," she said.

On a recent TWLOHA day of recognition, she wrote the word "love" down her own arms in many languages.

Now bright eyed and excited to represent the region, Crooker is focusing her time toward garnering financial support through sponsorships and shopping for outfits for the competition.

The girls will compete in three categories — Evening Gown, Swim Suit and Interview. Admitting to being very modest, she said she is most nervous about the swim suit competition, but explained it is used to determine how physically fit a contestant is.

"I'm walking everywhere these days to get in shape," she laughed.

The teen who ends up being crowned Miss Teen New Hampshire USA will go on to the national competition next March. That winner will then progress to the Miss Teen Universe pageant.

"It's really exciting. We'll just have to see what happens," she said.

While the pageant itself does not take place until Thanksgiving weekend, contestants will take part in an orientation on Oct. 16. They will have hair and make-up done professionally and walk the red carpet, complete with paparazzi flashing cameras in their face along the way.

"It'll be the real Hollywood treatment," Crooker said.

In the end, she said she hopes to take away a healthier lifestyle and more self-confidence, both of which would make her a winner no matter what else transpires. She is also grateful for the chance to gain more exposure for the causes she supports, all of which are very important to her.

Participation in the event is expensive, however, with application fees of more than $1,000 due by Oct. 12, along with the cost of outfits and other incidentals for the competition. Each girl is encouraged to seek corporate and private sponsorships to offset the costs and to sell advertisements for a commemorative pageant book that will be published. There is also a separate prize for the girl who gains the most "friends" on Facebook.

"People can go to my Facebook page and 'like' it to show support for me. I'd really appreciate it, and thank everyone for their support in advance," Crooker said.

Individuals or companies who would like to be featured in the pageant book and/or sponsor Crooker as the Lakes Region Teen New Hampshire USA 2012 are asked to contact her by email at mlc94@live.com for more details.

Crooker resides in Tilton with her parents, Doug and Diane, brother William ("Bear"), and sister Erika.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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