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Former queen achieves another reign

| Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 12:19 a.m.
Elissa McCracken of Waynesburg, being crowned Miss Ohio.
Elissa McCracken of Waynesburg, being crowned Miss Ohio.
Elissa McCracken of Waynesburg, being crowned Miss Ohio.

A Greene County woman will represent Ohio in the Miss America pageant, but it didn't happen without some heartache.

Elissa McCracken, 20, of Waynesburg, a student at Ohio Northern University in Ada, competed last year in the Miss Ohio Scholarship finals but did not make the Top 10.

“We shed some tears,” said her father, Jeff McCracken, who owns McCracken's Pharmacy in Waynesburg. “But we're a better person because of it.”

She's now Miss Ohio.

McCracken on Saturday won over 24 other contestants to claim the crown and a $10,000 scholarship from Newman Technology.

“To come back this year, I wanted to win,” she said, “but just making the Top 10 was my goal.”

After that achievement, McCracken said she decided to “leave everything on the stage.”

She performed “Cumina” on piano for the talent portion of the pageant. She began playing when she was 6.

“I was the only pianist in the pageant,” she said. “Having a different talent that I was passionate about worked to my advantage.”

McCracken, 20, a pharmacy major, was permitted to represent Ohio because she attends school there.

Her platform as Miss Ohio is to stop cyberbullying. She has been a victim of it, she said.

“It was a devastating experience for me,” she said. “Now, I'm able to share my story on how I was able to overcome the experience and emotions I was feeling to help others going through the same thing.”

As Miss Ohio, McCracken hopes to reach a larger audience with the three-step method that she said is vital to overcoming cyberbullying – stop, block and tell. Stop communicating with the bully, block the person from communicating with you and tell an adult.

McCracken's interest in pageants developed from the tradition of attending annual Miss Rain Day pageant in Waynesburg. The borough marks July 29th as Rain Day because it historically rains on that day more often than not.

“I began taking her to Miss Rain Day when she was 4 or 5,” her dad said. “It became a tradition every year. Her initial goal was to be Miss Rain Day.” She won that the title in 2008.

The two watched pageants on television, scoring contestants themselves.

“I don't think it's even hit me that I am actually competing at Miss America — and I could be Miss America,” McCracken said. “It's not going to hit me until I'm really there.”

Megan Guza is a news intern for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5644 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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