Selbyville resident Brooke Mitchell’s life changed on June 13 when the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization crowned her Miss Delaware 2015 at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Mitchell, 19, has been involved in pageants since the age of 6.
“I’ve been watching the Miss Delaware pageant since I was 6 years old. I’ve grown close to the organization and have competed in the Outstanding Teen organization, as well, which is the little-sister program to Miss America,” said Mitchell.
“I pretty much had grown up with the organization. It’s a big family, so I knew most of the girls. When I was younger, all of the Miss Delawares were my role models, so I knew that it was something I wanted to do.”
According to its website, the focus of the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization is to “make scholarships available to the state’s most promising young women, providing them with educational choices and opportunities for personal and professional growth.”
Over the 13 years Mitchell has been competing in pageants, she said, she’s been able to make life-long friends.
“It really is just a sisterhood. There isn’t cattiness backstage, which is a good thing. I think people think that a lot, which is so not true.
“I’ve been doing pageants since I was 6 and have rarely come across a case where girls are not supportive of one another. We all work hard. We all know that everyone else works hard. I think, knowing that, knowing that about ourselves and how important it is to each of us, it really is a way to supporting each, even though it is a competition.”
Mitchell first competed for the Miss Delaware title last year, her first eligible year, and was the first runner-up to Brittany Lewis, Miss Delaware 2014. That year, Mitchell also won the pageant’s talent and evening-wear competitions.
“I came back this year hoping to do a little bit better, and I’m glad I reached my goal and am excited to go to Miss America.”
Mitchell was crowned Miss Milford in February and was one of 11 young women to compete in June’s Miss Delaware pageant. Mitchell, who is a dance teacher at Dance Alley in Millsboro, performed baton twirling to “Rhythm of the Night” as her talent this year.
“We have to compete in talent — I’ve been dancing since I was 2 and baton-twirling since I was 4,” she said. “I twirled for Miss Delaware; it was a combination of baton and dance.”
Confidence is key when competing, said Mitchell, who also competed in categories such as swimsuit and evening gown.
“First thing, you have to be pretty confident in yourself. I don’t think you’d get very far if you weren’t confident in yourself, which is really important.
“We have to do an interview with all the judges. Just being up on current events and being worldly about everything that’s going on is very important,” said Mitchell, who also won the People’s Choice Award.
As the winner, Mitchell will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Miss Delaware Scholarship Organization, as well as other scholarships, gifts and, of course, the crown.
Mitchell said she has been preparing for her role as Miss Delaware since she was a little girl.
“Ever since I was little, I knew it was something I wanted to do. Everything I have competed in pageant-wise has been leading up to this, because it was my ultimate goal.”
Since her win, Mitchell said, she has been spending a lot of time in Dover with her director, as well as with her Crossfit trainer.
“I’ve had a few interviews all over the state. It’s really exciting, and I’m looking forward to how the rest of the year is going to go.”
A Sussex Central High School graduate, Mitchell is studying elementary education at Delaware Technical Community College but will be taking next semester off to focus on her new role.
“I may take online classes after Miss America, depending on the outcome,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”
During her time as Miss Delaware, Mitchell plans to promote her platform of volunteerism throughout the state.
“The very first time I competed was in the Little Miss Sussex County pageant, and it benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So, I have been volunteering since I was 6. That’s what my platform is, because at 6 years old, it just stuck with me.
“I visited hospitals and spoke to children — just talked to them about things they didn’t really get the chance to talk about. Some of those kids don’t even get visitation from their parents — they’re just there in the hospital by themselves, which is really upsetting to me. I think that, if you’re able to volunteer and are able to help someone else, then you should absolutely do so.”
Mitchell said she hopes to educate young people on the importance of volunteering, as well as the opportunity to volunteer.
“I think that one of the problems is children don’t realize they can volunteer, too. I want to promote volunteerism — not only in adults, but in children, too.”
Mitchell is now preparing to compete in Miss America on Sept. 13 in Atlantic City, N.J.
“We’re trying to get everything ready. All my paperwork, for the most part, is in. It’s official now — all my headshots are done,” she said. “I go up for choreography in New York on Sunday.”
As a Selbyville resident, Mitchell is close with Miss Delaware 2012, Alyssa Murray.
“I’ve known her since I was a kid. I was very happy when she won and was very supportive of her. It’s really exciting to follow in her footsteps, along with other former Miss Delawares. It really is a sisterhood; it’s great.”
In the few weeks that she’s been Miss Delaware, Mitchell said she has received an outpouring of support from all over the state.
“I just went to Old Timers’ Day. It was a lot of fun. So many people wished me luck for Miss America and said congratulations and said how happy they were to have someone from Selbyville,” she said. “I’m also getting a lot of support from Milford, because I represented Milford at the state pageant this year.”
Mitchell said she’s excited to see what the year has in store for her and is proud to be representing the state of Delaware.
“I’m really excited for this year, and I hope I can do Delaware proud at Miss America. I know it’s been a while since we’ve had someone make even the top 10; so, hopefully, I can do that this year. I’m going work really hard to try and make that happen.”
To follow Mitchell’s journey, follow her on Instagram, @missdelaware2015, or on Twitter, @_brookeA_, or on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/brooke.mitchell2. Newsletter updates are also available, by signing up at www.missde.org.