Past and current queens
Debra, along with her twin sister
and three (3) other siblings, spent
most of their childhood living in Germany and
During that time, Debra became very familiar with the German language and also speaks Italian fluently.
When Debra was in the ninth grade, her father
was assigned to Fort Dix and the family returned to the United States and relocated to Burlington County, New Jersey.
By age fourteen (14), Debra was enrolled in the Pemberton Township High School where , not only did she excel at academics and athletics;
but she also developed a strong passion for gymnastics and cheerleading .
For twenty-five years, she shared this passion
through coaching recreational and high school cheerleading. Her teams gained state
and national championships and recognition in the competitive cheerleading arena.
Debra has always had a passion for physical fitness and a strong desire to make a
positive impact on the physical and mental health of adolescent and adult populations;
with a special interest in adolescent eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. This was
the impetus that propelled her into a world of
nursing and nutrition. In 1980, Debra
graduated from The College of New Jersey
with honors and a B.S. degree in nursing.
While attending undergraduate school, Debra was a four year college football and basketball cheerleader; and competed in multiple county level Miss America Pageants, placing in first and second runner up awards. She also received recognition for Miss Congeniality and Most Talented honors. A few years after graduating college , Debra became a wife and a mother.
However, that did not stop her from pursuing her passion. She was able to juggle her family
responsibilities and her education goals without
“dropping the ball.”
In 1994, Debra was certified as a school nurse (CSN-NJ) at the College of New Jersey. She
has worked for the past twenty-five years as
a school nurse; and, has worked part-time in an
Emergency Room setting as a Certified Land and Aqua Group Exercise Instructor Debra always desired to pursue advanced degrees in Nursing and Nutrition.
In 2008, she earned a PhD in Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health. In 2010, she earned her master’s degree in Nursing Education and Leadership from Walden University.
In 2014, she began to pursue a Post -Master’s Certificate and graduated in 2018 as a Family
Nurse Practitioner and is looking forward to assessing and providing high quality care
to patients in an Urgent Care setting.
Debra has a competitive spirit which has been
encouraged and supported by her family
and her siblings who attend most of the events in which she participates.
Debra has been blessed with an identical twin sister who, not only choreographs her routines but, continuously inspires her to achieve greater levels of athleticism. Her sister challenges
her to continue pursuing her passion for fitness, acrobatic dance, and recently, pole sport.
Together, they are pursuing an entrepreneurial venture which includes designing and manufacturing fitness wear. They are planning on expanding their passion for fitness fashion through internet and personal business transactions.
Throughout Debra’s career, she has received many awards and recognition: Employee
of the Month, Crystal Apple Award, People’s Choice Award, Ms. Biceps Title by
Norwegian Cruise Lines, First Runner up in a Cruise Dance Contest , and the Congeniality
Award in the 2018 Ms. NJ Senior America Pageant. Recently, Debra started competing in the Senior Division of Pole Sport, and plans on finding additional competitions to prove that “people
can be in the best shape of their lives at age 60 and over!” In 2018, Debra was first runner up and shared the Congeniality Award in the
Ms. NJ Senior America Pageant.
On June 5th, 2019, Debra won the title of Ms. NJ Senior America and Ms. Congeniality 2019. She is honored and privileged to represent
the state of New Jersey in the upcoming
national 2019 Ms. Senior America Pageant.
Debra is a very active community member, volunteering her time to Medford Youth and
Athletic Association; and, participating in runs/fitness activities benefitting charity
She also organized the collection of clothing, coats, and prom dresses for those in need. She
believes in always taking personal and professional life to the next level and opening every door of opportunity that life provides. It is her goal to
“inspire women to embrace aging; stay active in both mind and body; and, promote their mental
and physical health by making time for themselves on a daily basis.”
Debra is blessed to have a loving, supportive family and friends; a husband; three children
(a speech therapist, a lawyer, and an occupational therapist); two grandchildren, a
mother-in-law; and, three siblings along with
their spouses who are in her corner 24/7.
Photo Highlights from 2019 Pageant
Congraulations to our
2019 Ms. New Jersey Senior America... Dr. Debra Canale
2018 Ms. Senior America, Gayle Novak with 2019 Ms. New Jersey Senior America, Dr. Debra Canale
WELCOME to the home of
Ms New Jersey Senior America