Leah Cecil, the Garden Grove native who has won the title of Miss California, will go for the crown of Miss America on Saturday in a nationally televised pageant.
She will be one of 53 contestants for the tiara at the event held at Theatre of Performing Arts in Paradise, Nevada, near Las Vegas. The pageant will be televised live on ABC at 6 p.m.
A harpist, she was graduated from Pacifica High School and won the Miss Garden Grove title in 2010 then advanced to the state pageant, where she was first runner up in 2011.
In July in Fresno, wearing the sash of Miss Southern California Regional, she won the highest prize.
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 state crown and sash.
The national event has a $50,000 scholarship award.
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.
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.