• Abby Harper named Miss Bellefonte

    mbAs Miss Bellefonte, Abby Harper aims to defy stereotypes such as the one that comes with those associated with beauty pageant-type activities. The Bellefonte Area High School senior said it’s her goal to just be herself.

    “My main goal is to focus less on the superficial part of it,” she said. “It’s OK to be pretty and the Elle Woods-type (from “Legally Blonde”), but I’m also just trying to be myself. A big thing for me is I love to read and I love being involved in school. I pass out bookmarks at parades. I don’t hide my nerdiness, and I want young girls and boys to know that they can accomplish anything no matter who you are.”

    Harper was named Miss Bellefonte at the underclassman prom in the spring after filling out an application, submitting a resume of extracurricular activities she’s involved in, a headshot and who her escort would be – Conner Bitner. She was then selected by high school faculty and staff for the title.

    “I think part of why I was so excited and honored to get it is because it’s a huge compliment from teachers and staff,” she said.

    Being Miss Bellefonte was something on her mind since she was a child, but wasn’t set on going for it until last year.

    “It went into it not sure what to expect and not sure if I’d win,” Harper said. “I wanted to run for Miss Bellefonte because for years I always looked up to the girls who have been in this position before. It’s not superficial like people might think. Miss Bellefonte is different. She’s a role model for young girls like me when I was little.”

    When asked what tips she has for someone wanting to someday be in her shoes, Harper encourages just “being yourself.”

    “Don’t let any doubts keep you from running,” she said. “Get involved, be yourself and be kind.”

    When not at school, Harper can be found at community events including the Bellefonte Cruise; Bellefonte Arts and Crafts Fair; Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair, homecoming and Pleasant Gap Fire Company parades; and more. She also participated in the 71st annual Flaming Foliage Festival in Renovo and was one of the individuals selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch July 26 at the State College Spikes game. In November, she will also be part of the Centre County Library’s Storytime event.

    In addition to Miss Bellefonte, Harper is also involved in many academic and fine arts clubs such as Drama Club, marching band, choir, National and Spanish honor societies, Safety Club, Raider Revolution, dance team and a member of the varsity golf team under direction of Head Coach Jayme Zimmerman.

    Harper hopes to pursue her education at Penn State, University of Pittsburgh or West Chester University to study elementary education.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD