Shanice Lewis, an Aberdeen native, has been selected as Miss Bel Air Independence Day 2015, the Bel Air Independence Day Committee Inc. announced.
The new Miss Bel Air – the fifth person to hold that title – is a graduate of Aberdeen High School, where she played saxophone in the marching band. A student at Harford Community College, her platform issue is "Students Against Destructive Decisions." She hopes to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine and open a natural health center. Her talent is music; she plays the saxophone and dances.
Lewis has held leadership roles in her choir and as a theatrical ministry leader at Highway Holiness Church, as a Sunday school teacher at Restore Church, as a senior pharmacy technician at Walgreens Pharmacy and as a yoga teacher at the Boys and Girls Club. She holds a State Pharmacy Technician license, a National Pharmacy Technician license, is a certified yoga instructor and is a birth and postpartum Doula.
"As the child of immigrants, I have truly learned what it means to chase a dream wholeheartedly, and to accept that your dreams may change along the way," Lewis said. "My parents came to America from two separate countries at two different times, what they had in common was the desire to find a new life for themselves in this great nation. They found each other and provided a wonderfully full life for their five children and several other members of their families. It is that same determined spirit, that same stubborn, won't back-down blood that runs through my veins and my only wish in this world is to make my parents as proud of me as I am of them," Lewis said.
She said she believes the Miss America Organization provides young women the opportunity to thrive by simply indulging in their passions.
"Through this organization, I am able to provide a voice to the cause that I support, as well as other relevant issues," she said. "I get not only financial assistance, but emotional assistance. I am given access to a group of other amazing young women, through which I am able to learn about causes and issues and lifestyles I would have otherwise never been exposed to. Together, we as young women can truly change the world when we stand as one and give each other support and love even with in the aspect of competition. I am honored by the opportunity to be a part of something so powerful."
The title holder, familiarly known as "Miss Bel Air," will serve as hostess and participant in one of the region's largest July 4th celebrations, taking place from dawn till night on Saturday, July 4, and will also help promote the event in the weeks leading to the event.
Events on Independence Day include the flag-raising at 6:45 a.m. in front of Bel Air High School, the traditional Pancake Breakfast, the various family-friendly functions during the day, including the traditional competitive events, Uncle Sam Says and the watermelon eating contest. Miss Bel Air 2015 will lead the parade down Main Street in Bel Air at 6 p.m.
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Miss Bel Air, representing Bel Air and the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, will compete for the title of Miss Maryland in late June as part of the Miss America Pageant process.