Kaliegh Garris, 18, a competitive dancer, defeated 51 other contestants to place first in the Miss Teen USA competition, becoming the second victor from Connecticut after Logan West won in 2012, according to a release.

Garris studies theater at ACES ECA and founded an organization called We Are People 1st to assist people with disabilities, based on what she has witnessed from her older sister, who has disabilities. She has been trained in

contemporary, jazz, pointe, hip hop and tap dance and has been a hiking tour guide in the New Haven Parks and Recreation Department’s Eco Camps, the release said.

“During the contest you know you have self-doubt because there are so many great people,” Garris said in the release. “I am just happy, proud, and grateful for the support system I have.”

After graduating high school, Garris plans to attend Southern Connecticut State University’s nursing program to one day work as a trauma nurse. She currently volunteers at  Yale New Haven Hospital.