Ocean City’s Devon Vanderslice crowned Miss Eastern Shore, heads to Miss NJ pageant

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Submitted / Devon Vanderslice, Miss Ocean City 2013, wins the Miss Eastern Shore crown on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Performing Arts Center in Cape May Court House. Submitted / Devon Vanderslice, Miss Ocean City 2013, wins the Miss Eastern Shore crown on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Performing Arts Center in Cape May Court House.

OCEAN CITY — Six weeks after ending her reign as Miss Ocean City, Devon Vanderslice now wears a new crown.

She was crowned Miss Eastern Shore on Saturday, Sept. 21 in Cape May Court House. With the new tiara comes an opportunity to compete in the Miss New Jersey Pageant, to be hosted in Ocean City in June 2014.

“I’m super excited. I’m back in the swing of things,” Vanderslice said after her win.

The Ocean City High School alumna tap danced her way to her new crown to Aretha Franklin’s “Think.” 

Vanderslice said she is excited to return to Ocean City in June to compete once again on the stage at the historic Music Pier.

“I’m so excited to have the opportunity to compete on that stage again,” she said, recalling happy memories from her crowning last year as Miss Ocean City. “Never in a million years did I think I would have this opportunity. Hard work pays off.”

Vanderslice, 20, is a 2011 Ocean City High School graduate and a junior at West Chester University. She said she enjoyed serving her community.

“I loved being Miss Ocean City,” she said. “It was lots of fun. I had a blast.”

Devon’s mother, Dawn Vanderslice, was Miss Ocean City 1979, making them the first mother and daughter to win the crown.

Her mother’s crown has a place of honor in a hutch in the family’s living room. Since she was a little girl, Vanderslice said her dream was to win a crown of her own. After her yearlong reign was over, Vanderslice also put her crown in the hutch, next to her mother’s, she said.

As Miss Ocean City, she said she missed just one event.

“I got stuck in traffic, and missed the freckle contest,” she said. “I was really upset about that.”

Vanderslice crowned her successor, Carley Del Sordo on Aug. 10. Vanderslice and Del Sordo are good friends and co-workers at Del’s Restaurant on the boardwalk.

“It was so sad, giving up the crown, but being able to crown Carley, one of my great friends, made it a lot easier,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better person to crown Miss Ocean City. It’s nice to pass the crown on to a good friend, someone so talented and deserving.”

Vanderslice, who was Junior Miss Ocean City 2008 and Miss Cape May County Outstanding Teen 2009, was in the audience last week for the Miss America Pageant.

“I went with my mom,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to see what it was like.

“That is my ultimate goal, to compete in Miss America. Each pageant is a stepping stone. Miss America is such a phenomenal organization.”

Her favorite part of the competition is the talent and interview.

“I’ve always loved being on the stage,” Vanderslice said. “I like to show people who I am. I’m very passionate about what I do, and dance allows me to express myself, to get across who I am.”

Preparing for the Miss Eastern Shore Pageant was a process that took months, she said.

“I practiced a lot when I was home in the summer,” she said.

She will have to continue to practice as she prepares for Miss New Jersey.

“At school it’s a lot harder. I may be doing a lot of tap dancing in my socks in my room, but I will get it done. I am going to put 100 percent in to it,” Vanderslice said.

The interview, she said, is not something she gets nervous about.

“You have to be well-rounded,” she said. “The main goal is to be confident. I was given this advice: You know all the answers, you just don’t know the questions.”

Vanderslice’s platform is “Donate the Gift of Life” in honor of her 17-year-old cousin, Coby Lefkowitz, a longtime Ocean City summer resident. A standout basketball player on his high school team, Lefkowitz, a quadruplet, is one of six children born to Vanderslice’s aunt, Coco Vanderslice Lefkowitz. He has only one kidney that is 20 percent functioning.

“Coby is a senior in high school, and he’s being recruited by Ivy League schools,” Vanderslice said. “He has a great attitude, but he needs a new kidney. My Aunt Coco is a match, and as soon as Coby’s numbers get low enough, my aunt is going to donate a kidney to Coby. They are making him wait until his kidney can’t function at all and he will go on dialysis. Then he will have the transplant.

“My main goal is to educate people as much as possible about donating an organ.”

Vanderslice is a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Sharing Network.

“In New Jersey, only 32 percent of the people who could donate have signed up to do so and that’s really low. Our goal is to encourage more people to donate organs,” she said.

When she isn’t competing in pageants, Vanderslice spends most of her time in classrooms, either at West Chester or in local elementary schools.

“I’m going to earn a dual degree in elementary education and special education,” she said. “I work in a preschool classroom and in special education classrooms. I’m also on the dance team; we perform at basketball games and other charity events, so I’m pretty busy at school. I’m happy to be busy. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.”

In her spare time, Vanderslice said she likes to hang out with her family. The daughter of Harry and Dawn Vanderslice, she has two brothers, Disston and Cole, and a sister, Taylor. She expects to see most of her large extended family at the pageant next year.

“I can’t wait,” she said. 

Submitted / Devon Vanderslice, Miss Ocean City 2013, wins the Miss Eastern Shore crown on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Performing Arts Center in Cape May Court House. Submitted / Devon Vanderslice, Miss Ocean City 2013, wins the Miss Eastern Shore crown on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Performing Arts Center in Cape May Court House.


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