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Miss Hawaii 'Very Humbled' to Be New Miss America

October 15, 2000|From Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Miss Hawaii Angela Perez Baraquio, an elementary school gym teacher, was crowned Miss America 2001 on Saturday night. The 24-year-old said she plans to promote character education during her yearlong reign.

Baraquio gasped when co-host Donny Osmond announced her name, and she then hugged first runner-up Miss Louisiana Faith Jenkins before ducking down to receive the crown.

Miss California Rita Ng, the first Asian American to win the state's title, was second runner-up, followed by Mississippi's Christy May and Kentucky's Whitney Boyles.

"I'm standing in the top five and I'm thinking, 'How do they pick from 51 awesome, amazing, phenomenal, wonderful girls who've become my best friends over the past three weeks?' " Baraquio said after the crowning. "I'm very honored and very humbled."

Along with the crown, Baraquio won a $50,000 scholarship.

In addition to teaching at a Catholic school in Honolulu, Baraquio is the school's athletic director and coaches basketball, volleyball and track. She said she wants to obtain a master's degree in educational foundations and eventually become a school administrator.

Baraquio grew up with nine siblings in Hawaii, plays keyboard for an all-girl rock group called High Tide and did a hula dance for the talent competition.

Among the other contestants in the 80th annual pageant were Miss Iowa Theresa Uchytil, 24, who learned how to twirl the baton despite being born with only one hand, and Jenkins, 24, a Louisiana law student who got involved in literacy work because her mother didn't know how to read.

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