Being the best version of herself

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Mairead Spellacy, 17, a junior at GMHS, will be competing in the Miss Connecticut Teen USA pageant in Farmington, the weekend of April 30. Submitted photo

Mairead Spellacy, 17, a junior at Granby Memorial High School, will be competing in the Miss Connecticut Teen USA pageant in Farmington, the weekend of April 30. Contestants who are accepted to compete in the pageant must have good grades and be involved in community service projects. 

Currently, Mairead supports the Salvation Army in Hartford and the Best Buddies program, where people with special needs are matched with a non-disabled peer to participate in sporting events. Mairead is also initiating a diaper drive in Granby with the goal to raise 100 boxes of diapers by the weekend of the pageant for people in need.

This will be Mairead’s first pageant, and although she has some nerves since she will be competing with other experienced competitors, Mairead reflected that she has been enjoying the experience so far. A friend she met convinced her to watch the Miss New York pageant, which she says “hooked” her from that moment.

The pageant’s date has changed several times due to COVID restrictions and Mairead and her mother, Kim, are hopeful that the April 30 date will stick.

Aside from sportswear and evening gown portions of the pageant, Mairead must be ready to answer on the spot questions related to current events. Mairead must also be ready to talk about her platform—a topic that she is close to and wants to spread awareness of due to her title. The topic Mairead chooses to support is Tourette Syndrome. Tourette Syndrome is “a disorder that involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics) that can’t be easily controlled.” (Mayo Clinic). 

Mairead was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome when she was 8 years old. Her mother added how fortunate they were to be in Connecticut, close to Yale’s Childhood Center where Mairead got the support she needed to overcome her challenges. Mairead shares that, “People would look at me and assume that I don’t have Tourette’s.” Mairead said that because of her title as Miss Granby Teen USA and due to the pageant, she will be able to give back to people with Tourette Syndrome. “I know what they are going through,” she says.

“The pageant organization is about being the best version of yourself and what makes you unique,” Mairead said.

More information on Mairead’s diaper drive can be obtained by emailing Kim Spellacy at kspellacy82@gmail.com 

Information on Tourette Syndrome information can be found at tourette.org/