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Norwin teen named 'Miss Moraine State'

| Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Claudia Komondor, 16, of North Huntingdon, recently won the Miss Moraine State title, which will advance her to a national competition.
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Claudia Komondor, 16, of North Huntingdon, recently won the Miss Moraine State title, which will advance her to a national competition.
Claudia Komondor, 16, of North Huntingdon, recently won the Miss Moraine State title, which will advance her to a national competition. Komondor, left, poses with 2013 Miss Moraine St Outstanding Teen Erika Williams.

Unlike many young women who participate in pageants, Claudia Komondor can't say that it's something she always wanted to do.

But once the Norwin High School sophomore began competing in 2011, she was hooked.

“I've been dancing since I was 2 and was involved in a lot of dance competitions,” said Komondor, 16, of North Huntingdon.

After participating in several competitions to “learn the little things” necessary to get the attention of judges, Komondor recently edged out six other girls to win the Miss Moraine State 2014, a Butler County pageant that is affiliated with the Miss America Organization. A total of 15 girls participated at the event.

While Komondor was confident that years of dance training would help in the talent portion of the competition, she had to work to hone other skills.

“I really had to work on things like making sure that I looked at the judges and audience when I answered questions instead of staring at the ground,” she said. “I also had to learn the correct way to stand and how to project a positive personality.”

While winning a pageant title has been rewarding for Komondor, she is hoping to use the honor to help others.

Komondor and her mother, Barbara, have been buying and collecting donated gowns and cocktail dresses that will be rented out for events. The proceeds from the rentals will be donated to the Children's Miracle Network hospitals, which have partnered with the Miss America Organization “to raise funds and awareness for children's hospitals throughout the United States,” according to the charity's website.

“I've always loved gowns and fancy dresses, but I know that not everyone can afford to go out and buy an expensive dress for a one-night event like a prom or dance,” Komondor said.

Her next competition is in June when she participates in the Miss Pennsylvania Teen pageant.

“I don't where this will lead, but I've learned that every girl who competes has a chance to be Miss Pennsylvania,” she said. “Win or lose, it's a great experience and just being involved has given me much greater confidence.”

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-856-7400 Ext. 8626 or at tlarussa@tribweb.com

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