Miss Teen Arizona story inspires others - East Valley Tribune: Chandler

Miss Teen Arizona story inspires others

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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 8:17 am

Samantha Anderson's story isn't what you'd expect from a girl with her infectious smile. It's a smile she gets from her mom, the woman who inspired her to be where she is today.

"I have her Miss Congeniality trophy from back when she was 18 and she did her first pageant," Samantha said.

Samantha has been doing pageants for about three years. Over the weekend, she was crowned Miss Teen Arizona 2014.

And perhaps an even bigger honor, she was named Miss Congeniality.

"It's an inspiration that something that my mother has, I now have as well," she said.

Samantha's poise hides the heartache of a tragedy she admits she hasn't fully grasped.

"I'm still in shock and obviously denial, and that's kind of what's getting me through, because I haven't really realized the full extent of what's happened," she said.

Two months ago both of her parents were killed in a plane crash in Colorado. Both were accomplished, qualified pilots.

Flying was a family affair.

"My dad was my flight instructor and about seven months ago I got the first level of the pilot's license with my dad," Samantha said.

Not having her dad and mom by her side for her big win was tough.

"Because my mom and dad were behind me, every single pageant," Samantha said.

But Samantha knows they were there in spirit, and that they would be so proud of what she's doing with her platform.

"My parents were members of Pilots for Kids and they were very involved in that organization, so I chose to continue on their legacy by working with Pilots for Kids during my reign," she said.

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