CCM Student Prepares to Compete in Miss America Pageant
Date: Sept. 8, 2002
Musical Theater Major Works to Bring Smiles to Disadvantaged Children
By: Eric Lose
Phone: (513) 556-1806
Photos by: Lisa Ventre
All through Ohio this summer a beautiful voice is changing lives one smile at a time.
Tiffany Haas, a University of Cincinnati sophomore and musical theater major at the College Conservatory of Music (CCM) is the reigning Miss Ohio. Haas is spending the year traveling the state promoting the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program and Operation Smile, a not-for-profit organization that provides reconstructive facial surgery to indigent children.
For Haas, earning the Miss Ohio title on June 15th involved considerably more than just looking good and strolling around in an evening gown. She's been involved in dance lessons and competitions since she could walk and works daily on voice training exercises. Vocal teacher Donna Connolly said, "Tiffany is a great instrument to work with. She's driven and focused and at lessons she's attentive and malleable: a fabulous student."
Not the least bit shy, Haas has been showcasing her talent for years. "When I was younger," she said, "I became really involved in dance competitions. I enjoyed competing in a positive way, like setting a goal and having that challenge." Performing has been in her heart since age four. "Whenever people would come over I wouldn't let them leave until I put on my Annie wig and sang 'Tomorrow.'"
The Miss Ohio competition is a preliminary to the larger Miss America pageant. The Miss America organization is the world's largest provider of scholarships for young women.
A lot of people benefit from Haas's participation in the Miss Ohio pageant. In the first month of her reign she put 5,000 miles on her car traveling the state promoting the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program and Operation Smile. "Operation Smile was part of my platform for Miss Ohio, and I promote it while I'm traveling the state." Her decade-long support of the international charity has helped 52 children receive operations to correct facial deformities like cleft lips and palates. "I was dancing for them through my Mom's dance school and we did a yearly Christmas show to raise funds," she said.
Originally from Virginia, Haas moved to Cincinnati to attend CCM and train for a career in theater. "It's the number one conservatory in the country for what I want to do," she said. "Many of the faculty have been successful performers in the Metropolitan Opera and on Broadway. They've all been there and done it: I couldn't find any better training."
Haas will compete in the Miss America pageant Sept. 17 to 21 in Atlantic City. The winner will receive a $50,000 academic scholarship, plus a sizable donation goes to the winner's school. "That would be amazing," she said. "I could come back to UC and say 'Here's a check for $25,000 to further education.' The Miss America organization is all about skills for the future and higher education."
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