Lynne Arnold, 84, of Warwick, was recently crowned Ms. New York Senior America at the organization’s 37th annual pageant held recently in Bay Shore, Long Island.
“I was truly shocked!” Arnold said when they announced her name as the 2022 Queen. “I was just hoping I didn’t finish last.”
The Ms. New York Senior America organization is dedicated to honoring women who have reached “The Age of Elegance” (all members are 60 and over.) Its philosophy is based on the belief that seniors are the foundation of America and are our most valuable resource and treasure. The pageant searches for that gracious lady who best exemplifies the dignity, maturity, and inner beauty of all senior American women.
Arnold was one of nine contestants who were evaluated on their individual interviews with the judges, evening gown and stage presence, philosophy of life, and talent. Her comic rendition of the song “Memory” was a hit with both the crowd and the judges.
Arnold, a widow, is a retired elementary and preschool teacher, working 31 years, with a break to raise her three children, John, Kimberly, and Derik. In 2000, she was voted Number One teacher in Sussex County, NJ, where she taught.
“That was so special to me because it was the parents and the students who voted, and that was so meaningful,” said Arnold.
She has lived in Warwick for nearly 25 years and is active in local community theater, and volunteers her time at local daycares and public library programs.
“I love Warwick,” she said. “It’s a quaint, friendly town, with trails to walk and all the little shops. I’m truly blessed to live here.”
She said that she heard about the Ms. New York Senior America organization while performing at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City in 2019. “I had won a local performing arts competition at my women’s club, and the prize was to appear in Atlantic City. After the show, a woman approached me and asked if I would consider entering the New York pageant. I got all the info, and I followed up with it.”
Her family’s reaction? “My children were thrilled when I decided to do this,” Arnold said. “My daughter drove in from Alabama to see me in the pageant. It was a wonderful experience. These women are talented, articulate and beautiful. It was an honor and a privilege, and winning was just the icing on the cake. Everyone was so kind and supportive. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.”
New York State Administrator Marleen Schuss said Arnold was a favorite early on. “From the first time I saw her in action at an audition, she put everybody at ease, and she made it all fun. I thought, ‘This is one lovely lady.’ She exemplifies the meaning of a queen – someone who represents all women at the Age of Elegance.”
Arnold will go on to compete in the Ms. Senior America pageant, held in September in Hershey, PA.
“It was a wonderful experience. These women are talented, articulate and beautiful.” - Lynne Arnold on her pageant experience.