By Nikki Ellis
PHILIPPIi, W.Va. – If you took a psychology or biology-related class at AB, you may have been in the presence of royalty and not have known it.
Peyton Lavallee, a senior Psychology and Biology double major at Alderson Broaddus, started competing in pageants her freshman year of college. In the four years she has been competing, Lavallee has participated in seven pageants and won three titles. Her titles held include Miss NorthEastern (2020), Miss Apple Valley(2022), and Miss Morgantown (2023).
When coming into college as a freshman, Lavallee met Stan Taylor, a professor in the education department who connected her to the Miss America Organization, which significantly changed her life.
“I ultimately made the decision to get involved because I had honestly been struggling to find where I fit when it came to college life and I wanted to do something that I felt had a bigger purpose,” Lavallee said.
Diving into the Miss America Organization, Lavallee has found her purpose through being a spokesperson in the community and advocating for the organization, and for her social impact initiative that is derived from her own experiences.
Lavallee’s “It’s a better World With You: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness” Social Impact Initiative was born through her struggles with mental health.
“ I specifically chose suicide prevention and mental health because of my own mental health battle and how silenced I felt by the stigmas I had to face in order to get the help I needed,” Lavallee said.
Out of her four years of competing, Peyton says this year has been by far her favorite.
“I finally know what I am doing and I have the footing to do the things I want to do,” Lavallee said. “I am really focused on trying to make this the year that matters.”
For the things that Lavallee wants to do, she is looking forward to partnering with the Brian O’Neil Jr. Foundation to support her social impact initiative on helping open up the conversation about mental health and what we can do to help those in need of resources and support.
“I plan to continue my work with the Brian O’Neil Jr. Foundation in their suicide prevention initiatives as well as get involved within the community and bring conversations about suicide and mental health to the public as a way to normalize mental health and to end the stigma,” Lavallee said.
Lavallee will graduate from Alderson Broaddus University in May, and go on to compete for the state title for a chance to compete for Miss America..