Centennial grad crowned Miss Illinois 2018

Centennial grad crowned Miss Illinois 2018

MARION — For the second consecutive year, an East Central Illinois native will represent Illinois in the Miss America competition.

Champaign native Grace Khachaturian was crowned Miss Illinois 2018 on Saturday night and will represent the state at the national competition in September — the first not to have a swimsuit portion, as announced this week.

She takes over the title from Oakwood graduate Abby Foster, who interviewed her after her win:

"I'm just so humbled to have competed alongside these women," said the 21-year-old University of Illinois student and Centennial graduate. "I cannot wait to go to Miss America and represent Miss Illinois."

Khachaturian, who competed as Miss Capital City, performed a lyrical dance to "You Raise Me Up." She won $10,000 in scholarships for taking the state crown.

"Preparations for Miss America start right away," said Ashley Hatfield, executive director of the Miss Illinois Scholarship Organization and Miss Illinois 2007. "It's an exciting and competitive and intense week, but one that is incredibly rewarding too. Grace is now a part of our Miss America family."

While at Centennial, Khachaturian founded the annual Dance Marathon in 2011, which has raised more than $30,000 to provide wishes for children who are terminally ill. She was the lead in several theater productions and played on the girls' golf team, being named to The News-Gazette's 2014 all-area first team in her senior year.

If she prevails in September, Khachaturian will become the second C-U native to take the title of Miss America after Urbana's Erika Harold, currently the Republican nominee for Illinois attorney general, won the crown in 2003.

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