Acacia Courtney crowned Miss Connecticut 2014

Miss Connecticut Acacia Courtney was crowned at the Garde Arts Center in New London on June 28. Photo by Catherine Fiehn.

Miss Connecticut Acacia Courtney was crowned at the Garde Arts Center in New London on June 28. Photo by Catherine Fiehn.

Acacia Courtney, 21, of Hamden was crowned Miss Connecticut 2014 at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Seventeen women from across the state of Connecticut competed for the title. She competed as Miss Hamden, and was previously Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen 2009.

Courtney is majoring in Communications with a concentration in Journalism, and minoring in Theology. She is the founder and president of Racing for Home, Inc., a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and retraining thoroughbred ex-racehorses for new careers beyond the racetrack. A life-long animal lover, Acacia wants to enter the racing industry professionally as a broadcast journalist specializing in horse racing.

Acacia promotes the personal platform of “The Monday Campaigns: A Guide to a Healthier World,” which advocates for small, easy-to-adopt changes that can result in major health improvements. She believes that the United States is becoming unhealthier as a nation, and it is the core goal of her platform to address the way we approach the concept of health. The Monday Campaigns is a nonprofit health initiative that encompasses the entire approach to health consciousness. Acacia advocates for Meatless Monday, Move It Monday, and Kids Cook Monday, encouraging alterations to our daily lifestyle that can be influential in creating a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy world.

Acacia is an accomplished dancer and performed ballet en pointe during the talent portion of competition, but is also proficient in jazz, musical theater, and international ballroom dance styles. She has studied at Steps on Broadway, the Joffrey Ballet School, and American Ballet Theatre, and was named a semifinalist in the 2009 Youth American Ballet Grand Prix Ballet Competition out of 90 contestants. She was also selected as a dancer in the opening number of the 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on CBS.

Courtney will compete for the title of Miss America 2015 in Atlantic City, beginning on Sept. 9 – Finals are on Sept. 14.

Cynthia Moura Dias was crowned Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen. Moura, 14, is from Wolcott and previously held the title of Miss Wolcott’s Outstanding Teen.

Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen Cynthia Dias was crowned on June 28 at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Photo by Catherine Fiehn.

Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Cynthia Dias was crowned on June 28 at the Garde Arts Center in New London. Photo by Catherine Fiehn.

Dias is an honor student in advanced level classes at Wolcott High School where she is an active member of her school community, and is Freshman Class President. Cynthia’s passion is the Importance of Literacy which she’s been working on since the tender age of 8, and she does not plan on stopping anytime soon. In fact, she founded a literacy program, Reading Is Succeeding, in her hometown of Wolcott with more than 25 children now attending. She has also teamed up with various state nonprofit organizations to raise awareness of the importance of literacy.

She has received numerous awards for her academics and service, not only in her community but also at a state level; some of them including: the Secretary of the State’s Excellence in Citizenship Award and the Waterbury Youth Excellence in Community Service Award. Cynthia was very excited to be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society, attend the National Young Leaders State Conference, nominated as a United States People-to-People Student Ambassador 5 years in a row. Additionally, as a Johns Hopkins scholar she attended a Biotechnology Summer Program for talented youth.

As a freshman, she made the varsity soccer team where she serves as a leader both on and off the field. From ballet to ballroom dance to her new found passion playing guitar, which is added to her list of instruments the violin and clarinet. The arts have always been a major influence in her life.

The most important aspect in Cynthia’s life is her family. From eating dinner every night to spending Sunday afternoon with family members enables her to share her hopes and dreams with them. She believes that the secret to her success is the love and support from her family.

Dias will compete for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in Orlando, Florida, July 29 – Aug. 2.

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