Archive for February, 2011


Teresa Scanlan

February 4, 2011

Teresa Scanlan

“Ladies and gentlemen, the 90th anniversary Miss America; your Miss America 2011 is… Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan!” The newly-crowned Miss America, 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan of Gering, Nebraska, is a mostly homeschooled Christian who lifted her eyes and hands heavenward in thanksgiving when she was announced as the winner on January 15, 2011. The pageant judges were awed by her confidence, saying she was quite poised for a person so young.

That came as no surprise to Miss Nebraska co-executive director Jay Engel. “Teresa is very, very well-spoken,” Engel observed. “She’s very intelligent and talented, so we knew that she had all the capabilities and characteristics that a Miss America would have.” In fact, Teresa didn’t place in the Teen Pageant two years ago because of the judges’ reservations that she didn’t act enough like a normal teen. “She…was too mature,” Engel admitted.

Teresa Scanlan was born on February 6, 1993. Although she is the youngest Miss America to be crowned in 74 years, she is actually two years older than the very youngest winner. Marian Bergeron was the youngest Miss America in history, winning the title at age 15 in 1933. Others younger than Scanlan were Margaret Gorman in 1921 (the first Miss America) and Mary Campbell in 1922, both 16. Rules now mandate that a winner must be at least 17. The most recent teenager to claim the tiara was Kirsten Haglund, 19, who won the pageant in 2008.

Teresa is of Croatian ancestry. Her maternal grandparents are Frank and Nives Jelich, who immigrated to the United States from the island of Ilovik in Croatia, formerly Yugoslavia. Her parents are Mark and Janie Scanlan. “They really sacrificed a lot to do what they did,” she says of her parents’ decision to homeschool. Teresa is the middle of seven children. Janie Scanlan recalled that when Teresa was a homeschooled third-grader, she always tried to keep up with the schoolwork of her fifth-grade sister.

Already advanced for her age, Scanlan decided as a freshman that she wanted to graduate early. She began attending Gering High School part-time for half of her junior year. She graduated early from Scottsbluff High School in the spring of 2010 after taking a double load of classes throughout high school. While at Scottsbluff High School, she played the lead role in Disney’s High School Musical Onstage. She also participated in choir, show choir, speech, and was named a Salutatorian for the Scottsbluff class of 2010.

Scanlan first started competing in pageants at age 13. A small-town girl (Gering’s population is about 8,000), she beat incredible odds to make it into the Miss America pageant. More than 1,000 pageants lead to Miss America, and over 13,000 contestants compete for the title. Teresa won the title of Miss Nebraska on June 5, 2010, and got to travel around the Cornhusker State participating in various events as part of her duties.

Teresa is a politically minded student who plans to attend Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia, a Christian college popular with homeschoolers. Although she will have to defer enrollment until after her reign as Miss America is over, Teresa will be able to utilize the $50,000 Miss America scholarship to pay for her college education. She wants to study American government and eventually pursue a career in law and politics. “I am very interested in the political process,” Teresa affirms. “I plan to register as an Independent,” she declared, saying that partisanship in Washington is a lingering problem among our elected officials. Her dream goal is to one day become president of the United States.

Perhaps Teresa Scanlan is following in the footsteps of Sarah Palin, a Christian female politician from a small town who was formerly a pageant contestant as well. At age 20, Palin (then Sarah Heath) took second runner-up honors in the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year. Palin was the youngest person and the first woman to be elected Governor of Alaska. From pageants to politics doesn’t seem like too far a leap. The competitions are certainly as cutthroat as politics – and at times, just as dirty.

Scanlan’s platform as Miss America is “Eating disorders: A generation at risk.” She now has twelve months to educate children and adults about the signs and risks of eating disorders, as well as how and where to get help for themselves or a loved one. Her passion to combat eating disorders stems from a friend who struggled with bulimia. “Because I was home schooled, I didn’t see the pressures,” Teresa said. But after doing some research about eating disorders for her friend, she discovered how rampant the problem is among young women across the nation.

For the Miss America talent competition, Teresa impressed the judges and the audience with her piano performance of Calvin Jones’ fast-paced “Whitewater Chopped Sticks.” Although she was the only contestant who didn’t dance or sing in the Miss America pageant, in her spare time she does enjoy singing and dancing as well as acting, playing the piano and guitar, composing songs, baking, participating in activities with her local church, and making clothes out of duct tape.

Scanlan didn’t hide her dedication to religion during the pageant, and notes that she wasn’t the only Christian contestant. “Many of the girls who made it very high [in the competition] had a strong faith because that shows…the substance and purpose behind what we’re doing – and that’s why we’re driven,” she shared. “We knew that whatever happened is His plan,” Teresa acknowledged, “and now I’m just so excited to see what He has in store.” Scanlan concludes, “And so every person that I meet I know God has a reason why I’m meeting them. I just want to embrace that as much as I can this year.”

Many people think the new Miss America is too young. But when you hear her speak, she sounds so well-grounded and older than her 17 years. She has a sense of humor, too. When asked if she was dating anyone, Teresa pinched her face into a grimace and quipped, “17-year-old boys? … Enough said.”

Scanlan wrote on her blog, “I am so looking forward to sharing my experiences and travels with you as I begin this wonderful journey and represent this incredible organization during our special anniversary year. I hope to make not only Nebraska, but all of America proud, and will do my utmost to represent the amazing young women of this nation. Thank you for your support and for believing in the young people of our country. Love and Prayers, Teresa.”

You can send Teresa Scanlan a note of congratulations or share your personal story about facing or overcoming an eating disorder by writing to her at: 2720 Applewood Road, Gering, Nebraska 69341. Follow Miss America 2011 on Facebook at and follow her on Twitter at


Christendom College

February 4, 2011

Christendom College is a small Catholic coeducational liberal arts college in Front Royal, Virginia, which is located in the Shenandoah Valley. The main campus overlooks the Shenandoah River with scenic views of the neighboring Blue Ridge Mountains. Christendom College is committed to both academic and moral excellence. Rules governing student life include a dress code, under 21 curfew, and no intervisitation between men’s and women’s dormitories. Although there is a strong Catholic emphasis in all aspects of the curriculum and life at Christendom College, non-Catholics are welcome to apply.

Christendom College is institutionally committed to the Magisterium, or “teaching authority,” of the Roman Catholic Church. The college was founded in 1977 by Catholic historian Warren Carroll in response to the devastating blow inflicted on Catholic higher education by the cultural revolution of the 1960s. At a time when other Catholic colleges were no longer following the guiding light of the Catholic faith, Christendom College stepped up and dedicated itself to the restoration of a truly Catholic culture.

The stated mission of Christendom College is “to restore all things in Christ.” The college’s vision statement reads in part: “The only rightful purpose of education is to learn the truth and to live by it. The purpose of Catholic education is therefore to learn and to live by the truth revealed by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….Only an education which integrates the truths of the Catholic Faith throughout the curriculum is a fully Catholic education.”

With the vision of providing “a liberal arts education that would fully integrate natural and revealed truth,” Christendom has a core curriculum of carefully selected subjects required for all of its students. The undergraduate curriculum consists of three years of study in Theology, three years in Philosophy, two years in English Language and Literature, two years in Classical or Modern Language, two years in History, one year in Political Science and Economics, and one year in Mathematics and Natural Science.

Christendom offers degrees in Classical and Early Christian Studies, English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, History, Philosophy, Political Science and Economics, and Theology. Every junior has the option of spending a semester in Rome, living just outside the Vatican and across from St. Peter’s Basilica. Students study Moral Theology or Apologetics, Art and Architecture, Italian, and Roman Perspectives while in Rome.

Christendom College does not participate in any Title IV Federal Student Financial Assistance Programs which includes federal student loans. This was a prudential decision made by Christendom College to protect its freedom to teach the Catholic Faith without hindrance. However, the College has developed its own institutional financial assistance program that is competitive with colleges who do accept federal financial aid. The College is also an active participant in the Yellow Ribbon Program for Veterans.

Successful applicants to Christendom College must show promise of being able to do serious intellectual work at the college level. Admission is determined by a variety of indicators including, but not limited to, high school grades, SAT or ACT scores, essays, and letters of recommendation. The normal scores that the Admissions Committee is looking for in order to accept a student are: SAT 1650 or higher (all three sections combined) and ACT 24 or higher. The Admissions Committee uses these numbers as standards but treats each applicant individually and takes many other factors into consideration before making a final determination.


Applicants will write essays on topics like the following: 1. Why do you want to attend Christendom College? State what you hope to gain from your experience at Christendom; what you hope to add to the College community; and what attracts you to the College. (500 word minimum.) 2. Describe your life within your family. Do you have brothers and sisters? What interests do you share? Have you discussed your plans for college with your family? If so, what do they think? (250 word minimum.) 3. Describe some person or experience who/which has had a deep impact on your life. Explain its value to you. (250 word minimum.) Essays are judged on content, grammar, spelling, and style.

Homeschoolers are encouraged to apply, and homeschool applicants follow all of the same admission procedures as other students. Your mother or father may fill out the academic letter of recommendation if they have been your teachers. Or have a teacher who has instructed you submit an academic letter of recommendation. Ask your parish priest, an employer or counselor to submit a personal letter of recommendation.

Christendom College recognizes accredited Catholic homeschooling programs such as Kolbe Academy, Mother of Divine Grace, Our Lady of the Rosary, and Seton Home Study. Homeschooled students who are not enrolled in one of the approved homeschool programs should provide documentation of completed course work. Homeschool transcript forms to be filled in are available from the college and may be downloaded at:

Christendom does not require that a particular core curriculum be completed prior to applying for the college, nor does Christendom require a student to have graduated from high school or to have earned a GED. However, the following high school courses are recommended for students preparing to attend Christendom College: English/Literature (4 years) – Grammar and Composition, World Literature, American Literature, British Literature. History and related studies (3 years) – World History, American History and Government, Geography. Language (2 years of same language) – Classical or Modern Language. Mathematics (2 years) – Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-calculus/Calculus. Science (2 years) – Biology, Chemistry, Physics. (Plus one additional year of either math or science.)

According to Thomas McFadden, Director of Admissions, “Homeschoolers do very well at Christendom College. Each year approximately 50% of the incoming class comes to us from a homeschool background, although many more have been homeschooled at one point in their elementary or secondary education. One of the things we have noticed about our homeschooled students is their incredible ability to read voraciously and also to comprehend what they have read. I think this is something particular to the homeschooled student because they tend to have a little extra time during their week to read for pleasure. This ability to read quickly and comprehend what they have read comes in very handy at Christendom. In all of our classes at Christendom, we require lots of in-class reading, [and] also out-of-class reading.”

McFadden adds, “Many parents have made the choice to homeschool their children because they are not too happy with today’s culture and they want to keep some of the bad aspects of today’s culture out of their children’s lives. At Christendom, the college seeks to help parents in their roles of primary educators and works hard to not only keep bad things out of the campus culture, but to provide a good Catholic culture in its place. In fact, at Christendom, one of the slogans used to advertise the school is, ‘Catholicism is the air that we breathe.’ It doesn’t really get much more Catholic than that!”

Learn more about Christendom College at