CM senior in Miss Teen U.S.
HUNTINGTON -- ACT prep, soccer prep and pageant prep: Celia Morales takes it all in stride, regardless of whether she's wearing cleats, high heels or any shoes in between.
The Cabell Midland High School senior was crowned Miss Teen West Virginia United States on May 25, and, this past weekend she buckled down to take her ACT exam as part of only more preparation to apply to college in the fall.
She's also focusing on training for tryouts for the Scarlett Knights soccer team in a couple of weeks, but that only takes place during her time away from being a volunteer at the Guyan Estates Pool in Barboursville.
Needless to say, she's as happy as she could be.
"I just take it all in as I go, really," said Morales.
That's the attitude she's carrying with her when she leaves to compete in the Miss Teen United States Pageant from Tuesday, July 2, through Sunday, July 7, in Washington, D.C.
Morales said her mother has encouraged her and her sister, Celena, to enter pageants since they were little girls. Morales took a break from the scene for about a year, but she said it wasn't because of a negative experience.
"It can be a lot of work with the traveling and time that goes into it," said Morales. "But, really, it's kind of addictive once you start doing them. You get to get dressed up, and that's fun. You get to meet so many new friends, and it is something that has helped me build my confidence."
When she was younger, Morales said she never imagined she would be the kind of person who would be able to walk across a stage in front of people, let alone be able to talk and answer questions in front of a crowd bigger than her friends and family.
"The biggest thing I've gained throughout the years is to not let stage fright get the best of me," said Morales. "I used to have the worst stage fright ever, but now, the more I am on stage, the more confidence I have in myself to go out and talk and answer on stage questions."
Pageants have been so key to Morales' self-confidence that she credits them with giving her the self-assurance she needed to pursue a career in health care.
She even wrote an essay on the topic of pageants and how they are beneficial to her future for a class earlier this year.
"The three things I talked about were self confidence, leadership skills and how it can help you get scholarship money," said Morales. "I think when I do go into health care, I'll be more likely to approach people and talk to them, and I won't be as shy as before. I'll be able to be confident in what I am talking about to people who might hire me for a job."
Right now, her job, in addition to her already tight schedule, is to promote her anti-bullying platform as Miss Teen West Virginia United States.
"As someone who was bullied when I was younger, it was important to me to build more awareness about how to overcome something like that," said Morales. "I have learned to ignore it over the years, but I have seen a lot of people who can't let go of it. I just want people to know that everything they do has consequences, even if they don't know what that is right now."
She said she hopes to start a program at Cabell Midland next year to pursue the issue.
In the meantime, its pageants, pools, and soccer pitches for Morales, who said she still is enjoying her time being a teenager, and that just might be what makes the difference for her on the national stage.
"The Miss United State pageant, they aren't looking for a certain look or a certain body type," said Morales. "They are just looking for a girl who represents her age. You don't need to have cut abs or anything fake on you. You just be the best version of yourself."
Follow Lacie Pierson via Twitter @LaciePiersonHD.
Celia Jane Morales
FAMILY: Mom, Tracy Morales; dad, Porforio Morales; and a sister, Celena Morales, 12
FAVORITE SPORT: Soccer
LOOKING FOR SPONSORS: You can become a sponsor for Morales' pursuit of Miss Teen United States by visiting www.gofundme.com/32fqco.
The Herald-Dispatch welcomes your comments on this article, but please be civil. Avoid profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, accusations of criminal activity, name-calling or insults to the other posters. Herald-dispatch.com does not control or monitor comments as they are posted, but if you find a comment offensive or uncivil, hover your mouse over the comment and click the X that appears in the upper right of the comment. If you do not want your comment to post to your personal Facebook page, uncheck the box below the comment.