MACON, GA – Greek-American Betty Cantrell, recently crowned Miss America, returned to her home parish, the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Macon, GA.
She was there to visit the Greek Festival and received a warm welcome, the Macon Telegraph reported.
About her current status as Miss America, Cantrell said “it’s been the most insane whirlwind of my life,” the Telegraph reported. “I can’t believe I am wearing the Miss America crown and able to represent the greatest state on earth, Georgia.”
She continued: “I am such a Southern girl at heart. I love the state of Georgia. I love Macon, Warner Robins, and I do miss it very much during my travels. When I was flying into Georgia yesterday from Canada, I could look out the window and see the Georgia red clay, and I just couldn’t help but get teary because I just miss it so much and I miss my family and everybody here that I love so much,” she said.
An accomplished singer, Cantrell also sang a country song, which is a tradition of hers at the festival, wrote the Telegraph.
Parish priest Fr. John Stefero told her how proud the community was of her victory: “when we were watching television that night, everybody was just gasping.
“Betty, I can’t tell you how proud all of the people at the Holly Cross Greek Orthodox community are of you,” Father John Stefero told her. “When we were watching television that night, everybody was just gasping. When it gets down to the last three people and only one is going to be chosen, I can only imagine what it was like for you up there. We were all praying for you, we were all pulling for you, and several people have come up later and just said we knew it was going to be you.”
What’s next for Miss America? Attending a conservatory and pursuing a career in musical theater, hopefully on Broadway someday.
Never forgetting humility, though, she was given advice by Fr. Stefero: “Obviously, you have tremendous talent and don’t ever forget that it is God who gives you that talent. Always give him the honor.”