OGDEN – Savannah Lancaster has a lot of things on her mind these days. On Friday she will represent the state of Utah in the Bahamas in the Miss Teen USA Pageant. She also recently completed a 10-day humanitarian mission to Nicaragua, not something most girls competing in a national pageant would do.
Lancaster, 18, admits that it is crazy timing, but that it has worked out.
“There is really no better time. It will really put things in perspective,” Lancaster said before her trip. She served another humanitarian mission to Haiti with her mom, Heidi Iverson two years ago and decided at that time that she wanted to do it again. Lancaster said it can be a long process to be selected to serve and had been on a waiting list for this latest mission and only found out a month ago that she would be going, but she didn’t hesitate. “It is such an amazing experience,” she said of the missions.
Lancaster hosted guests at a send-off party at the Weber State University Alumni Center where friends and family got to wish Lancaster well and see her one last time before her service mission and pageant that will follow quickly after.
Lancaster is no stranger to pageants, either. She was the youngest girl to compete in Miss Utah last year after winning the Miss Weber County title. She earned the talent award and was the first runner up in that pageant. Afterward, she was approached about competing in the Miss Teen Utah pageant, said her mom. She went for it and was crowned Miss Teen Utah last October.
Both Lancaster and Iverson said it was an extra-special experience because the pageant was held at Weber State’s Browning Center. “It was really special for her to win in her hometown,” said Britt Boyse, Executive Director of the Miss Utah Teen USA Pageant.
Lancaster graduated from Bonneville High School in 2013 where she was the drill captain on the drill team. She attended Utah State University last year and has big goals. She would like to go into Human Movement Science and then move to pre-med so she can specialize in oncology.
“I just love this girl,” Boyse said as she gave Lancaster a big hug. “I have seen all sorts of girls, but this one is so uniquely special. She has a great sense of fun, but she also has a great sense of service. Most pageant girls are worrying about their hair and make-up right now and this one is putting her hair in a ponytail and going to serve.”.
Lancaster smiled as she talked about the fact she may have bug bites at the pageant, but her mom admits the Lancaster has lived her life serving. “She wanted to serve food to the homeless at Catholic Community Services when she was 7,” Iverson said.
Lancaster has loved her time at Miss Teen USA because of all the new friends and connections she has made. She talked about different trips where she has been able to connect with different state pageant winners throughout the United States. “The crown brings a lot of credibility which gives me more opportunity for service,” Lancaster said of her title.
Lancaster admits she is nervous but also excited for the competition. She will be taking 30 family members with her to cheer her on. “I am really lucky to have so much support,” she said with a smile as she looked around the room filled with family and friends.
The pageant prelims will be webcast at 6 p.m. Friday, with the finals webcast at 6 p.m. Saturday at www.missteenusa.com.