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Meghan Sinisi

Altoona native Meghan Sinisi says that the Miss America Organization hasn't always been a part of her journey.  She discovered it in college and it was a venue to combine her different interests.

The 2013 Altoona Area High School graduate, who was recently crowned Miss Pennsylvania, has been twirling baton since she was three years old.  It was her main extra curricular activity throughout her childhood going into college.

After being selected Homecoming Queen in high school, she decided that she wanted to do something meaningful with it.  Her aunt worked in the Special Education department.  She asked her aunt if she could visit her life skills class.  "My aunt said, 'Yes, of course.  The students would love to see you in your sash and crown.' So, I visited the classroom.  That was the first time that I had interacted with somebody who had autism and I realized how little we were taught about the actual people behind the label of autism.  It is a word that is thrown around a lot."

During Autism Awareness Month, a lot of people hear about autism, but not many people consider what it means to live with it.  After talking with the students, she realized how they needed a champion in their corner to show people they are not just disabled.  They have things that they can accomplish and contribute to society and they deserve that.  They deserve that type of independence and people to believe in them.  "That is what really sparked my interest in doing something in my career to help people with autism.  That eventually led me to select speech pathology as my career.  Then, it helped me discover the Miss America Organization as well....

***To read the complete article, please check out the upcoming book release They Came From Blair County Volume 2 due out by the end of the 2021..

***The information for this article was obtained through a phone interview with Meghan Sinisi

***Photos were provided by The Miss Pennsylvania Pageant