A high school senior from the eastern Iowa town of Monticello was crowned Sunday in Cedar Rapids as the new Miss Iowa Teen U-S-A. 17-year-old Alyssa Cook was chosen from the field of 103 candidates from across Iowa. Cook bags groceries at the Monticello Fairway, raising money so she can go to college next fall to study the performing arts. Cook, a five-foot-seven redhead, has some advice for other Iowa girls, who sometimes aren’t so sure of themselves: “Be strong no matter what anybody says. Stick to what you believe in and don’t ever change for anybody. The way you are is the way you’re supposed to be.” Cook says she was shocked she won the crown.Cook is a rock climber, a vegetarian and she collects dimes and teddy bears. She’s the oldest of four sisters and says growing up in a small town like Monticello has been a blessing and she’ll enjoy being an ambassador for the state. Cook says Iowa’s a great place to live because of its safe towns and quiet neighborhoods and she looks forward to representing the state next year at the Miss Teen U-S-A pageant.
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