PHOENIX — It’s been a bittersweet 2014 for Samantha Anderson.
The Chandler, Ariz., resident was crowned Miss Teen Arizona last weekend, but she lost both of her parents two months ago in a plane crash in Colorado, the East Valley Tribune reports.
Flying was a big hobby in her family. Both of her parents were licensed, accomplished pilots.
“My dad was my flight instructor and about seven months ago I got the first level of the pilot’s license with my dad,” Anderson told Elizabeth Erwin of ABC 15.
Not having her dad and mom by her side for her big win was tough.
“Because my mom and dad were behind me, every single pageant,” Samantha said.
But Samantha knows they were there in spirit, and that they would be so proud of what she’s doing with her platform.
Anderson said she has been entering pageants for about three years, and that her mother was named Miss Congeniality at the age of 18.
“I’m still in shock and obviously denial, and that’s kind of what’s getting me through, because I haven’t really realized the full extent of what’s happened,” she said.