I was lucky enough to be chosen to be an evaluator at the Miss Inspirational Program last year at Old Rochester Regional High School in Mattapoisett. The show is returning on May 11 to ORR, and let me tell you, it certainly lived up to its name.

Miss Inspirational was hosted and created by former Miss Massachusetts Jillian Zucco, who grew up in Mattapoisett and attended ORR. The program is designed for girls and young women with special needs to focus on abilities, raise awareness and break through barriers.

For more information or to register, email MissInspirationalProgram@gmail.com.

I didn't know what to expect when I walked into the event. Admittedly, I'm lukewarm on pageants and crowns, but this wasn't a pageant. It was so much more. Miss Inspirational made me laugh out loud many times, it gave me a lump in my throat many more, and my heart was overflowing with joy as I walked out of the building.

Take a moment and watch the formal wear (above) for the Little Miss Inspirational category.


Eight-year-old Peyton Manteiga is the reigning Little Miss Inspirational, 16-year-old Molly Purdy is Miss Teen Inspirational, and 21-year-old Jamie Piro was named last year's Miss Inspirational. All contestants received gorgeous tiaras that they each wore with pride. There was nothing but big smiles at the conclusion of the night.


Aside from being a terrific show with an important theme, the Miss Inspirational Program raises much-needed funds for items that are generally needed by children with special needs, but not covered by insurance at Boston Children's Hospital, such as child life services.

I'd encourage anyone with kids to do the same. You will not regret it.

Thank you to K Garcia Productions for the cover photo.