Turning on a faucet for water is no longer anything that she takes for granted.
A spring break mission trip to Haiti with The Ridge youth group last year changed all that for 17-year-old Columbus resident Delaney Jackson.
“Water for Life: Ending the Water Crisis One Step at a Time” is the platform that she will use beginning Sunday and ending with the finals June 17 as a contestant in the annual Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen pageant in Zionsville.
“The issue of clean water is so close to my heart,” Jackson said. “I can just turn on a faucet. In Haiti, they will walk six hours a day to get even contaminated water.”
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The platform, along with an interview and talent portion, forms a significant part of the judging for the 28 contestants, according to organizers. That constitutes just one of the reasons that Jackson loves the umbrella Miss America organization.
The winner of this contest moves on to Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Florida, July 25 to 29.
“Pageants sometimes these days can have a negative connotation to some people,” Jackson said. “This is not a beauty pageant. It’s very much focused on who you are as a person. And this helps build up women. They don’t necessarily care what you specifically believe. But they care that you have confidence in what you believe.”
This marks the second year in a row for Jackson in the contest, an experience that she has called “a blast,” though she did not finish among the leading contestants a year ago.
Jackson is best known locally as a singer. She performed the lead role of Reno Sweeney in the musical “Anything Goes” in the fall at Columbus East High School, where she will be a senior. More recently, she sang in the annual American Pie: The Magical History Tour concert last month at Columbus North High School.
Last year, she also sang the national anthem before the Mill Race Marathon.
For the talent competition at the pageant, she will croon the Barbra Streisand tune “You’re Gonna Hear From Me,” a favorite of grandfather Tom Robbins in Indianapolis. She plans to unveil the tune as a surprise to him at the pageant.
“He always has begged me to sing this song at some point from the stage,” she said.
What: Columbus resident Delaney Jackson competing in the Miss Indiana Outstanding Teen pageant.
When: 6 p.m. June 17.
Where: Zionsville Performing Arts Center, 1000 Mulberry St., Zionsville.