An unexpected victory: PV student named Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen


Jennifer Crome

Caitlin Crome poses at the Miss America pageant in Orlando, Fla. in July, one month after she was crowned Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen.

By Carly Lundry, Pleasant Valley High School

After being involved in the performing arts for well over a decade, one PV student took her years of training, a tiny nudge and a giant leap of faith to compete for a cause and a crown.

Decorated dancer and athlete, Caitlin Crome, stepped outside her comfort zone to compete for the title of Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen. As a senior, Crome has accumulated much success in her four years at Pleasant Valley. She is a state champion for the Platinum Dance Team and a part of the first state championship team for softball.

However, 2018 brought with it the unexpected opportunity for a whole new kind of competition. A former dance teammate saw potential in Crome to be successful in pageantry. She took the challenge and began training for her first event.

Crome traveled to Des Moines, Iowa in December of 2018 to compete in a pageant for Miss Greater Des Moines’ Outstanding Teen. She left with a crown, a college scholarship, year-long sponsors, and the qualification to compete at the next level.

Five months later, The Miss Iowa pageant took place at the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa. Once again, Crome was victorious and took home the title of Miss Iowa’s Outstanding Teen.

But winning two titles was no easy feat. The training and preparations for these pageants took several months, and Crome said she learned invaluable real world skills in the process.

“For about 6 months leading up to Miss Iowa, I did two mock interviews per week to practice posture, tone of voice and answers to all different questions from personal to current events,” she said. This process also required contestants to write an extensive resume and essay.

Crome is now in the middle of her year of service and strives to make a difference in her community. She started the youth mentorship program, “Confidence is Key,” with a goal in mind to promote self-confidence in young girls. Crome feels a sense of responsibility to be a role model to those who are interested in following in her footsteps.

Crome’s younger sister, Kylie Crome, has seen her sister’s achievements as inspiration. “She [Caitlin] is why I started dancing and she is the most humble person I know, even after all of her success, and that is how I want to be known as well,” she said.

Following her victory at Miss Iowa, Crome qualified to attend the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen event in Orlando, Florida. She spent a week of her summer meeting new friends from around the country. Though she did not win the highly competitive pageant, she believes she left with an even greater prize.

“It was overall one of the best weeks of my life. I had the most amazing time competing and I made the best friends. I officially have 50 best friends from every state and I could tell you all of them by name,” Crome said.

The last year has been full of life lessons for Crome. Through taking a risk, hard work, and passion, Crome was able to achieve something unforgettable. In the future she hopes to continue working in pageants, in the community, and furthering her organization to help young girls.

“Anyone can be a part of pageants. The community is filled with such a diverse group of young women from talents to backgrounds and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make a difference,” she said.

This story was originally published on Spartan Shield on October 7, 2019.