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Miss Indiana returns after pandemic, crowns 2021 winners

Braxton Kennedy Hiser, 24, of Indianapolis, and Kate Dimmett, 18, of Zionsville, were crowned Miss Indiana and Miss Indiana's Outstanding Teen.

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. — The Miss Indiana Organization hosted its state competition on Saturday evening after a year break due to the pandemic. Braxton Kennedy Hiser, 24, of Indianapolis, was crowned Miss Indiana 2021 at the Star Bank Performing Arts Center at Zionsville High School. 

A graduate of Indiana University Bloomington, Braxton is an elementary school teacher, her talent is vocal performance and her social impact initiative is, “Love Thy Neighbor.”

"Oh my goodness... it's been a year," Hiser said in a live interview Sunday on 13Sunrise. "My school started virtual and that was rough. We then went back in person, then back to virtual. I taught summer school for three weeks and then right after that, got right into Miss Indiana. It has been a crazy year but I am so thankful." 

She’s looking forward to using her title of Miss Indiana to further her “Love Thy Neighbor” project. This initiative works with the local homeless population to provide basic necessities.

Also on Saturday, Kate Dimmett, 18, of Zionsville, was crowned Miss Indiana's Outstanding Teen. A recent graduate of Zionsville Community High School, Kate’s talent is tap dance and her social impact initiative is “Notable Measures.” 

Dimmett co-founded the non-profit “Notable Measures” with her sister in 2017 and has raised over $30,000 for music education. She described why this is so important to her. 

"I was in the process of looking for a new instrument when I was in eighth grade. I saw the price tags on some of the instruments and I wondered what do people do if they can’t afford to play music? Then I realized I wanted to find a way for any young person to have that opportunity.” 

The new titleholders will represent the state of Indiana at the Miss America and Miss America's Outstanding Teen competitions later this year.