Cinnaminson teen will vie for title of Miss New Jersey Teen USA
An AP honors junior at Cinnaminson High School will be a finalist for the title of Miss New Jersey Teen USA and will represent the state at the Miss Teen USA pageant later this month.
Reaching the final level of judging has been surreal for 17-year-old Olivia Pocius, who didn’t think she had a chance against some of the other candidates.
“Honestly, I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “If you knew me personally, I’m not the one to do these things, so I have gotten a lot of surprised faces and comments. But I just feel like I need a big change in my life, a good one.
“I just feel like this pageant would be great for me, great for more opportunities and (for) helping to make me a better person.”
Pocius’ high school record speaks for itself, beginning with her current pursuit of engineering: Women make up less than 20% of the engineering field. But her growing passion for the subject is closely associated with her success in mathematics.
“I was almost over-prepared for school,” Pocius recalled. “I did very well in my math classes. I’m great with patterns and algebra, and engineering is just the next step in that. I love art, so sketching really stood out to me. The field combines a number of things I enjoy.”
Even those like Pocius who don’t have much, if any, pageant experience, have as much of a chance in the competition as seasoned veterans do. While the pageant – open to any girl in the state – is new to Pocius, the experience so far has been an eye-opening and positive one.
“This really does almost feel unreal,” she noted. “I just can’t believe I’m doing something like this, but just the process has been a great experience and I feel like the entire thing will be a great experience.
“It’s something that has brought me a lot of confidence and it’s been very enjoyable.”
Like her passion for mathematics and what appears to be a bright future in engineering, Pocius’ community-service background is a strong one and something pageant judges will take into account. Pocius has volunteered at the St. Charles Carnival in Cinnaminson by making welcome bags for families staying at Ronald McDonald House in Camden and she collects winter hats and toys for donations to her church.
Her musically inclined background, which includes piano and violin, has also helped in her community-service journey; she used to play piano at nursing facilities and church services before COVID. She now plays annually at Virtua Health System’s “Cook’s Tour of Moorestown.”
“A lot of the pageants now are based on community service,” Pocius’ mother Eva noted. “It’s not just that these women are beautiful, but that they’re smart and they have community platforms that they are building.”
The Miss Teen New Jersey will be held at Hilton Parsippany from March 17 to 19.