Morgan Elizabeth Amarone has been on the path to Miss America since she was 16 years old, and now the 23-year-old will be going to Miss America.
But first, her journey will begin by promoting her platform, "The Power of Pink -- Cancer Education and Awareness."
In the coming months, she will be educating the people and children of Connecticut about living a proper lifestyle in order to avoid cancer. She started educating herself about the disease after her grandfather, Andrew Amarone Sr., died from lung cancer only three months after being diagnosed in 2004. "When my grandfather was diagnosed, I was very confused. I did research and realized he wasn't educated. He didn't know the signs and symptoms of lung cancer." Morgan also learned that two-thirds of cancer deaths can be preventable.
"That's when I decided to keep his legacy going and to start promote cancer education and awareness," she said.
Morgan has used her involvement in the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Program to promote her issue of concern, and she has now written a children's book, "Madison's Journey."
It's the story of a girl, Madison, whose friend, Sophie, has cancer, and the journey she takes to learn what Sophie is going through. She wants to introduce the book in elementary school health classes across Connecticut. She already has spoken at middle and high schools about the topic.
"I believe it's important to focus on leading a healthy lifestyle, being involved in your community and being aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer>"
Morgan became involved in Miss Connecticut through its Outstanding Teen program and was first runner-up in 2006. She then became Miss Greater Waterbury and made it into top 10 and received the state academic award. In 2008, as Miss North Haven, she won the state academic award. She entered the 2011 Miss Connecticut Scholarship Pageant as Miss Southington, an open local pageant that was held early in the season. At Miss Connecticut, Morgan tied for preliminary lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit; received the overall interview award and became Miss Connecticut. She will earn scholarships totaling over $5,000.
She earned a B.S. in accounting from Quinnipiac University and is an audit associate at Deloitte in Hartford. In her junior year, she started a master's program at Quinnipiac and will earn an MBA in healthcare management from Quinnipiac.
Morgan lives in Hamden with her parents, Andrew and Regina Amarone, and her brother, Paul, 17, whom she describes as her best friend.
“I wasn't somebody who grew up dreaming of being Miss America, but I had learned to turn obstacles into opportunities, and when I lost my grandfather to cancer, I started working for cancer prevention and awareness. I was introduced to the Miss America organization shortly after and I thought it was a perfect fit.”
“It's given me a voice and has allowed me to expand my platform to people and organizations that I wouldn't otherwise have had a chance to interact with. As Miss Connecticut, I was able to network and establish contacts and increase not only visibility and knowledge about my platform, but also the organization.”
“The fact that the Miss Connecticut organization supported me as an author of a children's book relating to my platform allowed me to wear two hats – the author had, and the crown. I think that was beneficial for me and the organization.”
“When I was a local titleholder, I did not know the amount of hours that the Miss CT board of directors and the local board directors. Being a volunteer really is a full-time job in itself. I think the majority of outsiders don't really know that. I learned that so much during my year, and now I'm trying to now make the general public understand the amount of commitment and that we wouldn't exist without our volunteers.”