Valley girl wins pageant after the loss of her parents

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- A 17-year-old junior at Desert Vista High School is the new Miss Teen Arizona 2014. But Samantha Anderson has had a whirlwind of a year so far, with many highs and some devastating lows.

Her parents, Sherry and Sherman Anderson, both pilots, were killed in a plane crash in Telluride, Colo., in February. Samantha, an only child, moved in with a family friend and focused on getting through each day at a time and the commitments she had made before the deaths-- like the pageant.  

"It was definitely a difficult experience," she said. "I'm still in shock and denial and that's what's really getting me through. I don't really realize the full extent of what happened."

Anderson's interest in pageants was sparked by her mother's Miss Congeniality trophy she had won during her pageant years. Over the weekend, not only did Anderson win Miss Congeniality, but she also won the crown and took home the title of Miss Teen Arizona 2014.

"I know they'd be proud of me and I'm proud of them and the woman they raised me to be," Anderson said.

She will now go on to the national competition in July in Washington, D.C.