Teresa Scanlan: Conservative College Tough Fit for a Miss America

Image: Teresa Scanlan: Conservative College Tough Fit for a Miss America

Monday, 09 Sep 2013 07:09 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Teresa Scanlan, who at 17 became the youngest Miss America winner in 70 years in 2011, said she hopes life will be a little less stressful as she enters her second year at Patrick Henry College in suburban Washington, D.C.

Scanlan told The Associated Press that the juggling act of fulfilling her duties as Miss America and fitting in at the conservative school – where some questioned if she belonged – became taxing at times.

"To have someone look at a picture of you and decide just based on that picture that they hate you, and that they're going to tell the world that they hate you — that takes some getting used to," Scanlan said about adjusting to Internet comments about her and her choice of college.

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"There's this idea that we don't struggle with the same problems, that we don't understand real world problems ... that everyone comes from wonderful, happy families, that we're close-minded and brainwashed. That kind of pushes my buttons," she added.

Scanlan told Leesburg Today in 2012 that she believed the 350-student school was ideal for her and matched her Nebraska upbringings. The school is geared toward high-achieving students, who, in particular, have an interest in government, said Leesburg Today.

The college was founded in 2000 by homeschool activist Michael Farris, and the majority of its students are products of home-schooling, like Scanlan, and many have aspirations to work on Capitol Hill, according to Leesburg Today.

Farris, who now serves as the school's chancellor, told the AP that he has received a handful of complaints that Scanlan's Miss America status ran counter to the school's code and values.

"I don't view getting into the pageant world to be incompatible with Christian values," Farris told the Associated Press. "She's very bright, a great communicator."

Scanlan told the AP some had questioned her participation in pageants, particular in the bathing suit portion of the competition.

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"I have never violated my conscience," Scanlan said about her time competing in pageants. "I was never compromising my morals. For myself, I have never believed it's wrong for a female to wear a swimsuit that would show the same amount of skin a man. It's a bit of a double standard."

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