ANDERSON — In front of family and friends, Anderson resident A’niyah Birdsong won the Miss Indiana crown she will wear for the next year.

Birdsong was crowned Monday at the Paramount Theatre before a large crowd that gathered to support all the contestants; she will represent the state at the Miss USA pageant later this year.

Birdsong, 26, is a graduate of Anderson Preparatory Academy and received a $60,000 scholarship to attend any state university.

“I’m so happy,” Birdsong said after winning the title. “To have it happen at the Paramount, where I’ve spent so much time, is special.”

Birdsong said she went into the night’s event feeling super confident that she could really break the mold.

Each contestant answered one question written by a competitor and randomly drawn from a bowl. For a question about people getting news and being misinformed, Birdsong said it’s the responsibility of each individual to do fact-checking across many platforms.

“We need to do our due diligence.”

Her judge’s question was about the role of strong women in society.

Birdsong said women are dynamic and challenge the status quo in every room they enter.

Miss Greenwood, Samantha Toney, was the first runner-up.

Miss Bloomington. Lexi Gryszowka. was crowned Miss Teen Indiana with Kinley Shoemaker, Miss Festival Country, named the first runner-up.

Henry County’s Miss Indiana Teen, Emma-Kate Moore, was in the top 10 finalists and received the Best Appearance award.

​Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.