Miss Delaware living childhood dream

Miss Delaware Brooke Mitchell and her mother Sandy, both of Selbyville, stand on the lobby steps of Dover Downs Hotel and Casino during last month’s send-off party to Atlantic City, New Jersey where she will compete against 51 other contestants for the title of Miss America. The pageant is set for Sept. 13. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

Miss Delaware Brooke Mitchell and her mother Sandy, both of Selbyville, stand on the lobby steps of Dover Downs Hotel and Casino during last month’s send-off party to Atlantic City, New Jersey where she will compete against 51 other contestants for the title of Miss America. The pageant is set for Sept. 13. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

DOVER — Brooke Mitchell has always looked up to Miss Delaware.

“I’ve never missed a pageant since I was 6 years old,” said Miss Mitchell, 19, who lives in Selbyville.

When she was little, she felt like she saw the pageant winner everywhere she went. She always wanted to get a picture. She wanted to be just like her.

For Miss Mitchell, who has participated in pageants for more than a decade, following Miss Delaware kept her on the right path.

Competing as Miss Milford, she was crowned Miss Delaware in June, and now that it’s her turn. She hopes to be the same kind of role model for other little girls.

Miss Mitchell said that in 2007, when then-Miss Delaware Brittany Dempsey took her with her to a children’s hospital to help give away teddy bears, it left a lasting impression.

“I was young,” Ms. Mitchell said.

“It was kind of turning point in my platform decision.”

With that in mind, at her Aug. 21 send-off at Dover Downs Hotel, Ms. Mitchell asked her “little sisters” to escort her.

Brooke Mitchell is crowned the new Miss Delaware by the outgoing Miss Delaware Brittany Lewis June 13 (Special to the Delaware State News by Gary Emeigh)

Brooke Mitchell is crowned the new Miss Delaware by the outgoing Miss Delaware Brittany Lewis June 13 (Special to the Delaware State News by Gary Emeigh)

The Little Sisters Miss Delaware program allows children between the ages of 5 and 12 to experience what it’s like to be on the Miss Delaware stage.

“I think it’s important that they’re involved,” Ms. Mitchell said.

And when Ms. Mitchell was in the program when she was little, she loved it.

“It was great for me because I got to escort one of the contestants and I think it’s great for them to know that they can be up there too, and it’s so much fun,” she said.

Ms. Mitchell entered her first pageant at 6 years old to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

After that, she was hooked by what she could help accomplish.

“The Miss America Foundation is great for promoting a platform, and that’s what I’m really strong about,” Ms. Mitchell said.

Ever since she’s been a teen, Ms. Mitchell said, her platform has been volunteerism.

“’Turn your passion to action,’” she explained.

“I’ve chosen to keep it broad because I’ve worked with so many different organizations and it’s harder just to narrow it down to one. Keeping it broad I can definitely reach more people that way.”

Ms. Mitchell said at her send-off party that she had a meeting scheduled with the state Office of Volunteerism to try to work out a partnership with them.

“That’s really exciting because it’s going to take it to a state level and a national level as well,” she said.

At the party, she showed off some of her outfits for the pageant set for Sept. 13 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In turn, she strutted beaming across the room stage in a glittery black dress with a deep V-neck, a yellow bathing suit and a long white gown.

For the “Show us your Shoes” parade Saturday, contestants have the opportunity to parade fancy shoes around Atlantic City. Ms. Mitchell chose a bedazzled race car driver jacket and shoes designed like a white checkered flag, a nod to Dover International Speedway.

“Everyone does a diamond state or a ladybug, but I want to do something a little different,” she said.

The August party gave well-wishers the chance to celebrate Ms. Mitchell on her way to the Miss America Pageant and also first runner-up in the Miss Delaware Pageant, Mikaila Ryan, on her way to the National Sweetheart competition.

“It’s been really great. Everyone’s been voting on Facebook. I see that all the time and all the support is just really wonderful,” Ms. Mitchell said.

In the final countdown before the Miss America Pageant, Ms. Mitchell said her calendar was packed. But the nerves hadn’t hit her yet.

When she’s not Miss Delaware, she said she’s usually just relaxing in a T-shirt, hitting up the gym or rehearsing her talent.

At her send-off party, Ms. Mitchell gave attendees a taste of her hard work. With “Uptown Funk” playing in the background, she enthusiastically tap-danced and twirled batons.

Every year that Ms. Mitchell competed in pageants, she said she has either tap-danced or twirled batons.

When she was preparing for the Miss Delaware Pageant, she planned to tap dance, she said, but her song choice had already been taken. She decided to twirl baton instead.

Then, for the Miss America pageant, someone suggested she try both.

“We had a choreographer make it work for me and I’m excited about it because now I don’t have to choose,” she said. “I can do both.”

Ms. Mitchell, who just finished her first year at Delaware Technical Community College, is taking the year off from school to focus on her role. After that, she hopes to move on to University of Delaware where she will study elementary education.

The Miss America Pageant will be broadcast live Sept. 13 on ABC starting at 9 p.m.

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