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Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen collects crayons for sick children

August 13, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen Mary Teal Mulligan used donated coins to purchase more than 800 boxes of crayons - stored here in her Williamsport dining room - which she delivered to Children's National Medical Center in Washington on Thursday.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer,

WILLIAMSPORT - In less than two weeks, Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen Mary Teal Mulligan will flash her first smile and wave at the crowd at the Miss America Outstanding Teen competition.

But the Williamsport teenager can only think of one thing: crayons.

Ever since Mary earned the title of Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen in June, she's been fixated on crayons - how to get them, how to get paper for them and how to deliver the crayons to sick, hospitalized children who will appreciate them.

It's a project she's calling Coins for Crayons.

"What kid doesn't like to draw with crayons?" said Mary, a 17-year-old rising senior at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

Teal has collected coins from Williamsport-area businesses and used the money to purchase boxes of crayons for ill children at the Children's National Medical Center, a Children's Miracle Network hospital, in Washington, D.C. The Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen pageant is part of the Miss America pageant system, which Teal said encourages contestants to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network.

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On Thursday, Mary and her mother Terri Mulligan delivered 849 boxes of crayons and included paper donated by local businesses.

"I didn't want to give them a check, I wanted to give them a tangible item they could use," Mary said.

Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen pageant was Mary's third pageant as a teen - the fourth if you count the one time she competed in a pageant when she was 8 and living in South Carolina.

"But that doesn't really count," she said.

Mary has been a dancer since age 3. She aspires to be a Radio City Rockette and dance in New York City. Her mother said entering that first childhood pageant seemed like a good idea at the time, a way to build stage confidence for her fledgling dancer.

But in the end, it wasn't what they thought, Mary and Terri Mulligan said. Mary said she was sure it was going to be her first and last pageant.

"I remember being surrounded by a lot of Barbie Doll kind of looking girls," she said. "I didn't think it was my cup of tea."

Mary said she entered Miss Western Maryland Outstanding Teen pageant in 2009 at the suggestion of a friend. She competed at the state teen title but did not win.

"Even if you don't win, it's a really good experience - the pubic speaking, the performance experience, which since I really want to be a dancer, a Radio City Rockette, having a dream like that, it's healthy to be on stage," Mary said.

Mary earned the Miss Hagerstown Outstanding Teen title in February and went on to win the state crown at The Maryland Theatre on June 25.

The Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant is Aug. 24 to 28 in Orlando, Fla.

The night before the crayon delivery, Mulligan was splitting her time between collecting the last few rounds of coins and leading a tour of incoming freshman through the Barbara Ingram school.

Would she have been collecting coins for crayons had she not earned the state title?

"I would gladly do this if I didn't have the title," Mary said. "'Anyone could do it. It's motivational to have this title and be a voice. I'm using it to do that. I'm not doing it because I have this title."

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