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Johnston County’s Own Crowned Miss America’s Teen

SMITHFIELD, NC - Hanley House, a junior at Cleveland High School (CvHS), was crowned Miss America’s Teen 2024 at the Walt Disney Theater in Orlando on January 13, 2024. Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) is proud to recently conduct House’s first official in-person interview as Miss America’s Teen.


Just over one year ago, on a whim, House decided to step out of her comfort zone and enter her first-ever pageant, Miss Cleveland High. She always watched Miss America on television, never thinking it would be her one day. What House did see that left a lasting impression were women that were not only beautiful, but well-spoken, and smart. 


Growing up, some of House’s friends participated in pageants, and she decided it was time to experience it for herself. A dancer since the age of 5, she already had a talent, was well-spoken, and had the attire. House thought to herself, “What have I got to lose?” Her main goal was to have fun and enjoy a new experience. 


In preparation for the pageant, she taught herself how to walk in heels and wear the gowns. House went out there and did her best, all while having fun and being in the moment. Although she didn’t place, the Miss Cleveland Pageant Coordinator Cora Godwin knew she couldn’t let House slip by. Being involved in pageants for the last 40 years, Godwin had developed a keen eye for talent. “I just knew there was something different about her,” Godwin said, “most notably her humility.”


When the pageant was over, Godwin immediately got in contact with House and suggested she enter the Miss North Carolina’s Teen pageant. This time House gave herself a goal. “I wanted to be in the top 15,” she said. Not only did she make it into the top 15, she won the entire competition!


On June 24, 2023, House was crowned Miss North Carolina’s Teen 2023. To say it was a surprise would be a colossal understatement. Little did she know how dramatically her life was about to change. Luckily, House’s father had taught her from a young age to “always be ready” which would prove relevant more than any other time in her life thus far.


Fast forward six months to January 2024, and House was on her way to Orlando to compete in Miss America’s Teen 2024, only the third pageant she had ever competed in. The week was full of events, and House participated in several preliminary competitions, winning both evening gown and fitness. 


On the final night, House was ready. She and 50 other contestants from across the United States competed in three categories: fitness, evening gown, and talent. Family, friends, and even her Cleveland High principal, Jenna Sauls Hairr and assistant principal, Cora Godwin, were there to cheer her on. “If that doesn’t describe the definition of supportive, encouraging principals, I don’t know what does,” she said. “It just goes to show that Johnston County Public Schools are making an impact.”


House performed a lyrical routine to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. As a 13-year dancer, she has been accepted into prestigious dance academies, including Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco, and Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, and credits her poise and stage presence to her years as a dancer.


After several rounds of elimination, House had made it to the top five. And then there were two. House and Miss Ohio Teen Paisley French held hands, which is tradition, as they stood on stage waiting for the announcement. House prayed, “Please God.” 


Then it happened. They called Miss North Carolina Teen, and House jumped up in excitement and disbelief. When asked what went through her mind at that moment, she responded, “I don’t remember. I just felt the heat of the lights, the crowd going wild, and chills running down my body knowing that I had made it.”


As Miss America’s Teen 2024, House will receive a $60,000 scholarship or a 4-year scholarship to the University of Alabama. Also, she will spend the next year traveling around the country sharing her community initiative Passion to Profit. The initiative was developed by House through her experience as a small business owner. At the age of 12, she started a vinyl sticker business to help offset costs of her evolving dance career.  


Passion To Profit empowers young entrepreneurs and builds real-world skills including time management, leadership, brand marketing, community reinvestment, and teamwork. House believes a lot of today’s teens are lacking in those areas, and wants to help her peers be the best version of themselves. 


“I have always lived in a fearless mindset, and this journey has fueled my mindset in a way of becoming more dedicated, committed, and stronger,” House remarked. It’s a message she wants to share with girls all over Johnston County, the state of North Carolina, and now the nation as Miss America’s Teen 2024. “I just want to always be the girl who just went for it.”


Hanley House poses for a picture after being crowned Miss America’s Teen 2024. House competed with 50 other smart and talented young women from across the United States for the title.

Cleveland High junior Hanley House sits down with JCPS for her first interview since being crowned Miss America’s Teen.

A dancer for 13 years, Hanley House has studied with some of the country’s most well known studios in Los Angeles and New York. 

Miss America’s Teen 2024 Hanley House is excited to travel the country and teach young entrepreneurs her five steps to becoming a successful entrepreneur, the foundation of her Passion To Profit program.