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By Tanner Harding | Aug 11, 2017
Photo by: Tanner Harding Jillian Zucco gets ready to head to the Miss America pageant.
MATTAPOISETT — Miss Massachusetts, and Mattapoisett resident, Jillian Zucco is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime. But not without one last party and fundraiser.
Zucco's family and friends gathered at The Century House in Acushnet on Friday evening to celebrate before Zucco heads to the Miss America competition.
"I'm so grateful to have the support from the community," she said.
However, Zucco said she felt relaxed and ready for the ultimate challenge.
"I'm really excited," she said. "It took me five years to win Miss Massachusetts, so I've had a lot of practice."
Emma Guillotte, Zucco's cousin, said the whole journey has been exciting.
"It was incredible seeing her win Miss Massachusetts," Guillotte said. "She's always been one of my inspirations and role models. I was shaking and crying the whole time."
Zucco's grandma, Mary Lee Guillotte said Zucco's whole life has led up to the Miss America competition. Mary Lee said she recently found a video of Zucco from when she was 3 at her uncle's wedding.
"The DJ couldn't show up because his father had a heart attack. There was a back up on the way but everyone was entering the reception and there was no music playing," she said. "[Zucco] got the microphone and she sang every song she knew. She sang 'Row, Row Your Boat' and 'Tomorrow' from 'Annie'...She's meant to be on stage."
Mary Lee added that she "couldn't believe" she was going to get to watch her granddaughter compete in Miss America.
"I can't say how proud we are of her," she said. "This is her year. She's got the best shot at it and I'm not just saying that because I'm her grandmother. She has a heart of gold and is the epitome of what Miss America is."
Zucco puts on a yearly pageant called "Miss Inspirational" for young women with special needs. Brook Legendre, whose sister won at the pageant last year, was also in attendance to wish Zucco luck.
"It would be really cool if she got Miss America," she said. "She's really nice too."
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