Written by Stephen Levine Thursday, 22 August 2013 00:00
For the fifth year, the Irish American Society of Mineola has crowned a new Miss Irish America, giving the distinct honor to Islip resident Kelly Schlittenhardt in 2013, whose grandparents immigrated to the United States from the Emerald Isle.
It was Schlittenhardt’s grandparents who read about the competition in the Mineola newsletter and encouraged her to take part.
“My Irish heritage means a lot to me,” said Schlittenhardt. “Both of my grandparents from my mom’s side are immigrants from there. It was really nice to win this for my grandparents.”
As a graduate from LIU Post with a musical degree, the new Miss Irish America sees music as her strong point. For the competition she sang and played piano to “Ave Maria.”
“That was my big strategy,” said Schlittenhardt. “That and a sparkly dress.”
As far as the experience over all there didn’t appear to be any hostility between the competitors, according to Schlittenhardt.
“Everybody was so nice,” she said. “There were no catty attitudes. Everybody was really sweet and supportive of each other.”
Despite the victory, Schlittenhardt thinks that pageants will be a one-time thing for her.
“I’ll probably just want to keep this as a fond memory,” she said.
Instead, Schlittenhardt is focused on doing musical theatre shows and teaching music lessons. She’s also keeping her options open f by doing professional auditions and looking at graduate schools.
Although she signed up on a whim, the 22-year old college graduate got caught up in the excitement. Waiting to hear the results, Schlittenhardt did not expect her name to be called. Bronwyn Hagan was named the runner up.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I immediately looked at my family and saw them jumping up and down and it made me happy to see that I made them happy.”