Megan Cromwell’s year as Miss Farmington has been filled with event appearances, volunteer opportunities, a bit of sadness, and through it all, music.
The Farmington High senior said while she watched the pageant many times, she never considered running until her friend Summer Badrak was crowned in 2017. When Cromwell later sang during Farmington’s annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony, pageant director Ginny Morris told her she should compete.
“She definitely gave me that little shove,” Cromwell said. “She gave me so many opportunities.”
About half-way through Cromwell’s year as Miss Farmington, Morris unexpectedly passed away, a loss she describes as “devastating. She was the heartbeat of the Miss Farmington program.”
Cromwell said she’s grateful for the guidance of volunteer Pam Green, who also serves on the Farmington Public Schools Board of Education.
”Her dedication early on allowed me to keep the rigorous Miss Farmington schedule running. I am also grateful for Kim Riley and the Delores Riley Foundation for their efforts in supporting the Miss Farmington scholarships.”
While Cromwell doesn’t have concrete post-graduation plans, music lies at the heart of them. The youngest of five children, she started playing piano by ear at age 3.
Cromwell entered the pageant with the goal of bringing music to the experience and has performed the National Anthem at a number of community events. She said the number of people making those events happen in Farmington and Farmington Hills truly surprised her.
“So many residents want to pitch in and be part of the community,” she said.
Princesses and unicorns
Among Cromwell’s favorite memories have been encounters with awe-struck little girls. She recalls coaxing one shy child onto the dance floor at the February Daddy Daughter Dance in Farmington Hills.
“She didn’t want to dance, and it seemed like her father really did,” Cromwell said. “I asked, ‘Can I have this dance with you?’.” After a couple of fast songs, the girl was ready for a slower dance with her dad.
During a Princess Party, another youngster asked Cromwell if she was really a princess, and followed up with, “Did you bring your unicorn?”
Thinking on her feet, Cromwell said her unicorn was not feeling well and stayed at home. The girl asked her unicorn’s name, and later presented Cromwell with a get well card for “Debbie”.
Community service plays a major role in the Miss Farmington experience. Between her program duties and serving as pianist at her church, Cromwell logged more than 400 volunteer hours over the past year.
“This really defies the reputation pageants have,” she said. “This makes a girl an ambassador of the cities. It shapes girls into better people, better women… It’s not about the crown and sash, it’s about what you do with them.”
While the program pushed her outside her comfort zone “in the best possible way,” Cromwell has mixed emotions about giving up her crown.
“I’ve had a great, great year,” she said. “I’m excited someone else will get this experience.”
Miss Farmington Cities will be crowned during a 7 p.m., July 17 pageant at the Farmington Civic Theater. Learn more at missfarmingtoncities.com.