By Naeisha Rose
Queens Village’s own Cayla Kumar will receive a resolution on the state Senate floor April 30 by Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) for winning Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen contest last week and for her countless hours of volunteer service.
“Cayla is a remarkable individual who has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to her family, her community, and her passion for making a positive impact on the lives of those suffering from pediatric cancer,” said Comrie. “I was proud to help bring attention to her tremendous accomplishments and advocacy by putting forth a congratulatory resolution in the State Senate.”
Before capturing the title Saturday, Cayla volunteered 4,100 hours in community service over the course of four years and raised $25,000 in cancer research for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its first youth ambassador (2012).
“I’m very excited and I’m honored,” said Cayla. “It’s a bit overwhelming, because so many people are supporting me now and it’s just an amazing feeling to have a team behind me and my community supporting me,” added the 15-year-old, who was teased for being naturally thin at school.
As the local winner of Miss Bronx’s Outstanding Teen, the contest open to everyone in downstate New York to represent the city, she spent her spare time cooking meals for families with Ronald McDonald House charities, a nonprofit that helps sick children, and raising funds for children’s cancer research with her “Gold Ribbon Project: Curing Pediatric Cancer” platform.
She will have a shot at representing the Big Apple from July 24 to July 26 in the preliminaries for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen at the national finals in Orlando, Florida.
The final night of the competition is July 28.
“Now I will be competing against the other 49 states [and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico],” said Cayla. “I’m even more nervous, because I already set my goal in what I wanted to achieve with my platform, which was to advocate [for childhood cancer] a lot more.”
Miss America’s Outstanding Teen is a scholarship-based sister program to the Miss America Organization, according to missn
“I walked into school this morning and everyone was walking around saying ‘Congratulations, Cayla, Congratulations, Cayla, I’m so proud of you!’” said the pageant queen. “Now everyone is asking about volunteering with me.”
Since her win six classmates have approached her to learn more about the organizations that she volunteers with.
“They want to help give back and be apart of [my] journey,” said Cayla.
Cayla won Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen competition after completing a fitness routine, a Bollywood fusion dance, an evening gown segment, an interview section and an onstage question.
As the winner of Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen Cayla won a $1,000 cash scholarship and a $2,000 scholarship from the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. She gets to choose a $12,000 tuition to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy College, or a $2,000 tuition to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy High School Summer Program or accept both tuitions.
Cayla was classically trained in Indian dances from the Sadhanalaya School of Dance and the Natraj Center for the Performing Arts. She hopes to become a dance teacher and to use her passion to pay for medical school at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland to become a pediatric oncologist.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose