WKU student Thornton doesn’t win but leaves Miss America Pageant with ‘Quality of Life’ award

Sidney Blanford

Bowling Green senior Ann-Blair Thornton may not have won the 2012 Miss America pageant as a contestant, but she didn’t come away empty-handed.

On Jan. 12, Thornton was named the winner of the 2012 Miss America Quality of Life award for the work she put into her platform, Alzheimer’s awareness and research.

Kaylee Egerer, a senior from Rochester, Mich., has spent her weekend in Las Vegas with other members of the WKU community to support Thornton.

“She’s just level-headed and down to earth, and she doesn’t change who she is for the pageant,” Egerer said.

With her platform, Alzheimer’s awareness and research — a topic close to her heart — Egerer said this pageant is Thornton’s dream.

“This is the biggest thing she has wanted to do her entire life,” she said. “She wants to make a difference, and with her platform.”

According to MissAmerica.org, Thornton got involved with Alzheimer’s research and awareness after her grandfather was diagnosed in 2006. Since then, the Bowling Green senior has made numerous efforts to fund her platform including a walk, Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, in her hometown which raised $172,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

As winner of the Quality of Life award, she received a $6,000 scholarship. Thornton has been unavailable for comment.

“She has been on Miss America lock down,” Egerer said. 

Despite the fact she was unable to demonstrate her talent during the live pageant, Thornton would have been playing the piano. 

Thornton will remain Miss Kentucky until she crowns the 2012 Miss Kentucky on July 14th.