ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ) — WTAJ State College Journalist, Maria Cade, participated in the opportunity of a lifetime as she competed in the 2022 Miss Pennsylvania competition.

The 22-year-old who currently holds the title of Miss Central Pennsylvania was named first runner-up in the 2022 Miss Pennsylvania competition and was awarded over $7,500 in scholarships.

Alysa Bainbridge, 2022 Miss Pennsylvania (left) and Maria Cade, 2022 Miss Central Pennsylvania and First Runner-up (right) Photo Credit: Holly Mead Photography

“I am so honored to be chosen as the first runner-up to Miss Pennsylvania 2022, Alysa Bainbridge,” Cade said. “I am excited to support her during her year of service as she advocates for mental health awareness.”

During the competition, Cade won the Night One Preliminary Talent Award for her performance of “Nessun Dorma” from the opera Turandot. She received $1,000 for winning that competition.

Maria Cade, 2022 Miss Central Pennsylvania and First Runner-up (right) Photo Credit: Holly Mead Photography

She also won the Shipley Social Impact Pitch Preliminary Award, for her initiative Be V.I.S.I.B.L.E, where she advocates for representation and inclusion for all.

“What sets the Miss America Organization apart from similar competitions is the service-oriented aspect,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to use my year as Miss Central Pennsylvania to give back to my community which has given so much to me. Who you are or where you come from has no bearing on your capabilities to succeed. Every day I advocate for inclusive empowerment for all and I am proud to have shared a necessary message of representation in the Miss America Organization on the Miss PA stage.”

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You can catch Maria Cade in the field reporting for WTAJ.