Miss Wisconsin has won the title of Miss America 2023.
Wausau native Grace Stanke, a 20-year-old nuclear engineering student at UW-Madison, was crowned the winner of the Miss America competition on Thursday at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn., becoming the pageant’s 95th winner. She is the third woman from Wisconsin to win the title.
Stanke shared her passion for nuclear engineering and performed “Storm,” a selection from the Summer movement of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” on violin during the competition.
A graduate of Wausau West High School, Stanke is the daughter of Darrin and Jenny Stanke.
She previously served as Miss Madison for two years at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and went on to place in the top 10 at Miss Wisconsin before returning to the stage and becoming Miss Wisconsin this year.
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The 2023 Miss America competition was held over four days in Connecticut. Miss New York Taryn Delanie Smith was crowned first runner-up to Stanke.
Last year, Miss Alaska Emma Broyles was crowned Miss America, dethroning Camille Schrier after a two-year reign due to delays in the program because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Miss America was established in 1921 as the “Inter-City Beauty Contest” and took place on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
A century later, the event has become a familiar staple of Americana and, as its official website notes, has been “at the center of everything from national trends to social movements to the birth of television.”
Originally created by a group of Atlantic City businessmen in the 1920s, the evolution of Miss America would see the event ultimately operated as a nonprofit. The Miss America Organization brands itself as the “nation’s leading advocate for women’s education and the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women in the United States, awarding millions of dollars annually in cash awards and in-kind tuition waivers.”
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Contributing: Edward Segarra, USA TODAY
Story Credit: usatoday.com