Tuesday, August 16, 2022
Aug. 16, 2022

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Skyview grad ends reign as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen

By , Columbian Features Editor
3 Photos
Payton May, right, crowns Marcelle LeBlanc of Alabama as Miss America?s Outstanding Teen 2022.
Payton May, right, crowns Marcelle LeBlanc of Alabama as Miss America?s Outstanding Teen 2022. (Jenn Cady) Photo Gallery

Skyview High School graduate Payton May recently ended her long reign as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen.

She won the title in 2019 and held it for two years. Last year’s scholarship pageant was canceled due to the pandemic. May, 19, passed the crown to Marcelle LeBlanc of Alabama on July 30 at this year’s pageant in Orlando.

“It was definitely bittersweet,” said May, who lives in Felida with her parents, Tom May and Debra Carnes. “It was such a big part of my life.”

Miss America’s Outstanding Teen is the little sister to the Miss America scholarship pageant. Contestants participate in private and on-stage interviews, and also perform a talent for judges. (May sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in the 2019 pageant to win her title.)

May’s social-impact platform was to convince young people to register to vote and develop a lifelong habit of civic involvement.

May set a goal of registering 5,000 voters, but the pandemic made that difficult when all of her travel, public appearances and in-person volunteer projects were canceled in March 2020. She still managed to register 3,000 voters, she said. She also raised $2,000 for the Clark County Food Bank and $10,000 for the NAACP’s national organization.

She graduated from Skyview in 2020, and took a gap year given the pandemic and her extended obligation as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. This month, May will head to the University of Southern California where she plans to use her $38,500 in scholarships to study journalism and political science.

“I’m excited to start my college experience totally fresh,” May said.

She said she doesn’t plan to leave pageants behind entirely, however.

“Eventually I plan on competing for Miss America,” she said. “It’s an organization that’s given so much to me.”

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