Garden Grove Journal
Second chances don’t always have happy endings, but they did for Garden Grove’s Leah Cecil when she was crowned Miss California Saturday in Fresno. She will now represent the Golden State in the Miss America pageant in January in Las Vegas,
Cecil, a harpist, won the Miss Garden Grove title in 2010 and advanced to the state pageant, where she was first runner-up in 2011.
This time, wearing the sash of Miss Southern California Regional, she won the highest prize.
As she waited for the judges’ final decision in William Saroyan Theater, she thought, “I hope I’m not first runner-up again,” she told reporters.
But she wasn’t.
“To hear my name was definitely a dream come true,” she said afterward.
A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, she plans to get a master’s degree in business and wants to teach music at the college level. Cecil, 22, received a $10,000 scholarship along with the crown and sash.
Cecil’s roots in Garden Grove are quite deep. She has lived in West Garden Grove her whole life, attending Barker Elementary, Bell Intermediate and Pacifica High School.
She started trying out for the Miss Garden Grove title in 2004 and got second runner-up twice and first runner-up once before finally taking the top local honor.
Since her pageant career began, she has been sponsored by the Garden Grove Rotary Club.