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UD freshman is new Miss Delaware USA

Ashlee Greenwell
2:19 p.m., Jan. 25, 2006--As Miss Delaware USA 2006, freshman Ashlee Greenwell leads a busy life, juggling a full schedule of classes, including calculus during Winter Session, with personal appearances and getting prepared for the national Miss USA competition to be held April 21 at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

“I had never entered a pageant until last year when I entered the Miss Delaware Teen USA competition and was the second runner-up. It was a great experience, and since I turned 18, I became eligible for the Miss Delaware USA competition. There were 29 contestants, and when I learned I won, I was amazed. You always see winners in these competitions in tears when it’s announced they have been chosen, and I was no exception,” Greenwell said.

When she was crowned during Thanksgiving at the Sheraton Hotel in Dover as the youngest winner in the Miss USA competition, her life changed almost instantly, with photo sessions and public appearances.

She and Miss Delaware Teen USA, Erika Savidge, have made several appearances in holiday parades throughout the state, the most recent one being the Martin Luther King Day parade in Lewes. Usually she rides in a vintage car, but in the Elsmere parade, Greenwell and Savidge were in a horse-drawn buggy, and the horse kept backing up into people, which made it interesting, she recalled.

Future appearances include visiting young patients at the Alfred I. du Pont Hospital for Children in Wilmington and a visit to the Veterans Hospital. Raising awareness of breast and ovarian cancer is a goal of the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the pageant, and Greenwell will be involved in that effort. “Both my mother and grandmother had breast cancer so this is an important cause to me,” she said.

Greenwell is a young woman who appears to appreciate all life has to offer. As a child, she was hard of hearing and as a result could not talk well and lacked confidence. Her adenoids and tonsils were removed, tubes were placed in her ears, and, when she was about 8 years old, her hearing improved.

Greenwell went on to become a cheerleader and sprinter on the varsity track team at Middletown High School. For fun, she said she loves amusement parks, especially roller coasters--the bigger, faster and scarier, the better. She and her mother, Kathy, and father, Terry, who is a colonel and chief of staff in the Delaware National Guard Joint Forces, and brother, Bryan, have had several trips to Disney World.

A biological sciences major, Greenwell said her goal is to become a dentist. “When I was quite young, I had a gap between my teeth and also chipped one of my front teeth. Dentists fixed my mouth and my smile, and ever since, I have wanted to be a dentist and help others as they helped me,” she said.

As dentistry requires several years of school, one of the incentives to enter the Miss Delaware USA contest was a scholarship to UD, Greenwell said. She also won a weeklong trip to Jamaica and a long weekend in San Francisco, both of which are on hold for now.

Greenwell recently attended a session at Eagle University in Dallas, a kind of “finishing school” that Miss USA contestants are invited to attend with other young people.

“It was a positive experience with wonderful speakers,” Greenwell said. “They encouraged you to be what you really wanted to be and to pursue your goals. They taught interview skills and speed-reading and stressed scholarship. I’d recommend the experience to anyone.”

Next month, Greenwell heads to Oklahoma City where she will try on and select a designer evening gown for the pageant, which will then be made to order.

Then it’s on to the main event in April with more personal appearances by the 51 contestants, representing all the states and the District of Columbia, and rehearsals leading up to the pageant itself. The event is sponsored by Donald Trump (no, she has not met “The Donald” but hopes to) and NBC-TV. It will be televised at 9 p.m., Friday, April 21.

Article by Sue Moncure
Photo by Duane Perry

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