Congratulations to Freetown's Erica Correia. The Apponequet sophomore won the Miss New Bedford Outstanding Teen pageant over the weekend at Greater New Bedford Vocational Technical School.

Erica is very involved in the drama program at Apponequet and demonstrated her talents by performing a high-energy tap routine to the song "Faith" from the movie Sing.

Erica was asked about what issues face teens today. She spoke about the problem of a lack of self-confidence in teens.

"People should always be proud to be who they are, to be themselves, and to not care what others think," she said.

She agreed that social media was a large contributor to the struggles that teens seem to be having with self-confidence.

"If cyberbullying is happening, or if people are posting photoshopped images of themselves, it can cause people to have low self-esteem and create body image problems," she said. However, Erica also believes that social media can have a positive effect on teens because it also allows adolescents to see the good in their peers.

It could be said that Miss New Bedford's Outstanding Teen is a farm team to the Miss New Bedford pageant. This weekend's pageant was the 10th one since it debuted, and four out of those 10 Outstanding Teens moved on to win the Miss New Bedford crown.

Erica said that she would love to eventually move that number up to five, but that she was going to focus on her work ahead as Miss Outstanding Teen.

"It was very thrilling, very exciting," she said. "I'm looking forward to getting out into the community and starting on this journey."

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