Miss South Bend prepares to pass the crown, hear her story

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The title of ‘queen’ comes with many responsibilities! But the crown, continues to play an important role right here in the South Bend community. Each year, the Miss America Organization puts on a competition to find the next Miss South Bend!

But, do you think you have what it takes? A lot goes in to the competition, including a 10-minute private interview, onstage questions, a 30 second social impact pitch, evening gown, then talent. However, for many like current queen Hannah Stombaugh, it is not all about the competition. The title of ‘Miss South Bend’ means so much more.

Due to the pandemic, Stombaugh has been queen for 2 years, and her time has been spent investing in the South Bend community. Supporting local organizations, visiting schools and focusing on her social impact platform, all encompass the everyday life for Miss South Bend. Stombaugh says the influence the title has on young girls is one of the most important parts of the job.

“Having all of these people or influencers who are maybe not putting their true selves out there, and little girls to look up to that, and realize they have to do certain things to feel pretty, or they have to do certain things to be liked, the Miss America Organization empowers young women to be unapologetically themselves,” says Stombaugh. “They empower them to use their smarts, to be confident in their own skin, they are the best versions of themselves, and that is what they want to see. Without the Miss America organization, I would not have half of the confidence or even be able to do this.”

Part of Hannah's social impact platform is #haveaheart. Stombaugh advocates and raises money for more AED’s to be placed on school properties. She also hopes to educate teens on EKG screenings, or electrocardiograms, and where to get them.

Now, the cause has gone statewide. In the past several weeks, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb amended House Bill 1040, which means schools must provide parents with information on where to get an EKG. Stombaugh is hopeful education about heart screenings and sudden cardiac arrests in teens can help prevent these tragedies.

“When I noticed, we had a lot of sadness, but I did not see any AEDs being placed, I did not see any drills, I saw a need for change, so I decided with my platform that I can be an advocate, for those lives who have lost. Since then I have taken their legacy, and their names live on and they have been able to save lives,” says Stombaugh. “Because sudden cardiac arrests is the number one killer of student athletes in America, and so there needs to be more awareness about that”

The application deadline is August 25th, and the competition is the 28th. Further information can be found here. 

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