Miss New Jersey 2014 is a local girl!  Cierra Kaler-Jones grew up in Galloway Township and graduated from Absegami High School. The 21-year-old is now a senior at Rutgers University.

Kaler-Jones, who competed as Miss Coastal Shore, was crowned Miss New Jersey Saturday night in Ocean City, after placing among the top contestants in last year's pageant.

She wins a $12,000 college scholarship and will now represent New Jersey in September's Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.

The new Miss New Jersey, who is quoted by the Press of Atlantic City as describing herself as "your average everyday person", was raised in a lower-middle class family.  Both of her parents are employees of Atlantic City's casino industry, working at Harrah's Resort.

She is only the second African-American woman to ever be crowned Miss New Jersey.  The last was Miss New Jersey 1983 Suzette Charles, who went on to become Miss America.

Cierra Kaler-Jones' platform for Miss New Jersey was "Empowering Today's Youth through Arts Education".  She is involved in social work in her spare time and plans one day to be a lawyer .

More than ever this year, we have good reason to have a routing interest for Miss America 2014!  Good get 'em, Cierra!