On Sunday, September 13, the twenty-one year old Miss Georgia, Vasiliki “Betty” Cantrell took up the crown and title of Miss America 2016 in the competition’s 95th anniversary held at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall. Cantrell, who impressed the judges with her vocal performance, is involved in numerous artistic and charitable activities, several among them involving her Greek Orthodox faith.
Cantrell’s name “Vasiliki” fittingly means “royalty” and was given to her in honor of her Greek grandmother. Also of German descent, she celebrates her Greek heritage as part of a Greek dance troupe.
More importantly, she is an avid music student and performer and among her many activities is Byzantine chanting in both Greek and English at her Holy Cross Greek Orthodox parish in Macon, GA. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Mercer University where she received both academic and music scholarships, and her musical prowess was on display at the Miss America competition when she offered the judges and audience a stunning performance of “Tu Tu Piccolo Iddio!” from the opera Madame Butterfly