Galloway woman wins Miss New Jersey

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Bill Barlow / Galloway's Cierra Kaler-Jones at the parade in Ocean City on Wednesday. She was crowned Miss New Jersey Saturday. Bill Barlow / Galloway's Cierra Kaler-Jones at the parade in Ocean City on Wednesday. She was crowned Miss New Jersey Saturday.

OCEAN CITY – Galloway Township resident Cierra Kaler-Jones, who was crowned Miss New Jersey Saturday night on the Ocean City Music Pier, said on Monday morning it still hasn’t sunk in.

“It’s kind of surreal. I was driving from Galloway to New Brunswick and it still hasn’t hit me yet,” said Kaler-Jones, a Rutgers senior and Absegami High School graduate. “I was literally in the car thinking about what happened when they called my name. So many people told me that I couldn’t do it. I just started crying in the car. I am so happy.”

Twenty-four of the state’s most talented young women competed in Ocean City on the Music Pier for the coveted title. Nine of the 24 contestants either live, lived or attended high school in Atlantic or Cape May counties.

Kaler-Jones, 21, was third-runner-up in last year’s competition. It was her third try at the title. She told her parents Alvin and Becky Borders, she was done competing.

“I was happy as third-runner up. I told them ‘I think I’m done.’ and they said, ‘No. You are going to compete one more time.’”

Kaler-Jones is obviously ecstatic that she listened to her parents.

Her platform is “Empowering Today’s Youth through Arts Education.”

“I come from a lower middle class family,” she said. “Both of my parents work in the casino.”

During her junior year at Absegami, the arts program was cut. That was when she became passionate about the arts education cause.

“I was at those Board (of Education) meetings,” Kaler-Jones said, adding that she asked for the programs be restored. “There is such a lack of effective and efficient arts education programs for children who are not affluent. I want to be a role model for these girls.”


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