Local News

N.C. crowns new teen queen

Miss North Carolina's Outstanding teen passed the crown onto a girl from Gastonia who serves as advocate for children caught up in domestic violence.

Posted Updated

RALEIGH, N.C. — A teenaged girl from Gastonia said she was excited and in disbelief when judges pronounced her the next Miss North Carolina's Outstanding Teen.

Mya Briann Hipps, , won the competition Friday night at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium. Miss N.C.'s 2007 Outstanding Teen, BrieAnna Hester, and Miss America's 2008 Outstanding Teen, Caitlin Brunell, crowned Mya.

Mya said she hopes the title will further her work as an advocate for children affected by domestic violence.

"This gives me a greater opportunity to spread awareness of this tough situation that faces some of our state's children," Mya said.

Mya has started a music-therapy program for children in domestic-violence shelters.

She won the talent competition on Thursday with performance of Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Half a Moment."

Mya, the daughter of David and LeighAnn Kayler, is a rising junior at Highland School of Technology in Gastonia.

Miss Mount Holly, Victoria Van Dyke, was the first runner-up. She was followed, respectively by Jessica Carter, of Garner; Kacy Lee, representing Central Carolina; and Arlie Honeycutt, of Johnston County.

Rounding out the top 10 finalists were Miss Thomasville, Kensley Leonard; Miss Gaston County, Tiffany Payne; Miss Spivey's Corner, Mary Warren; Miss Fayeteville, Charity Haskins; and Miss Forsyth County, Blair Puleo.

Miss UNC-Pembroke, Courtney Hunt, won the Spirit Award, voted on by her fellow contestants.

Victoria took the top prize in the community-service category, followed by Miss Western N.C., Ashlea Arizaga, and Charity.

The top scholars were Tiffany Payne, of Gaston County; Sarah Green, of Hendersonville; and Charity.

The finals of the Miss North Carolina pageant will be Saturday night.