The Miss North Carolina Pageant is celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary this year, and, yes, there is a secret (or two, or more) to its success. This year, the pageant will be televised again for the first time since 1997, and the planned six-month exhibit at the NC Museum of History, the Gala being planned by the North Carolina Sisterhood of Former Miss North Carolinas, and the generous support of many corporate sponsors will all ensure that the program is poised to return to prominence and prestige in the state.
The greatest asset to the pageant is the quality of young women who grace the stage each year as Miss North Carolina. Each leaves a footprint on the Tar Heel state. They have a unique dedication to the program, recently forming an organized 501c3 support system to both the pageant and young women who will eventually serve the state as Miss North Carolina. The Sisterhood of Miss North Carolina began as an annual reunion of former Miss North Carolinas and has grown to include friends, supporters, and mentors who have shaped the lives of former winners. Partnering with the Miss North Carolina Pageant organization, the Sisterhood embraces the entire pageant family of past and present winners, supporting vocational and workplace training, mentoring, community outreach, leadership, and scholarship for women who have served as ambassadors of the state.
Last year, the pageant was supported by the Papa John’s organization with a donation of more than $54,000. This donation was made through the efforts of a former board member who works for Papa John’s and organized a coupon fundraiser where customers could order a pizza and use a MISSNC coded coupon that donated one dollar from each pizza ordered to the scholarship fund.
Fundraisers within the organization include the annual golf tournament, a silent gift basket auction held during pageant week, the Carolina Princess program, and the development of the youth program, the North Carolina’s Outstanding Little Miss Pageant.
Coupling fundraising with organizations that allow past, present, and future Miss North Carolinas to come together to support and help each other are just a few of the state’s secrets to success. Read more about the pageant in its seventy-fifth year by subscribing to fourpoints!
Source: Mary Beth Knox
Crowned February 25, 2012, Miss Los Angeles County Outstanding Teen 2012, Danamarie McNicholl-Carter, besides being an honor student, a golfer and a triple jump competitor for the Academy of Our Lady of Peace she has been extremely busy working on her platform. McNicholl-Carter has spent the last few years raising money and awareness for the San Diego Adaptive Sports Foundation.
SDASF is an organization that improves the quality of life for children, adults and wounded veterans with physical disabilities through recreation and sports. Volunteering as a wheelchair sports camp counselor she says, this experience changed her life. She helped transfer the little athletes from their wheelchairs into sailboats, and kayaks and different athletic chairs needed for participation in sports such as basketball, volleyball, rugby, tennis and soccer.
“I absolutely loved getting to know the young athletes, and seeing them over come obstacles while enjoying every minute of their amazing camp experience,” Danamarie says.
This organization is not only of importance to Danamarie for its obvious charitable reasons, but for a more personal reason as well. As a child, Danamarie was born with hip dysplasia and very well could have grown up to need a wheelchair herself if her ball and socket joint had not healed correctly. Her work with these children who have overcome so many obstacles has lead her to live her life by Winston Churchill’s words, “The pessimist sees the difficulties in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
She is excited to say through her efforts she sent fifteen children to wheelchair sports camp this past summer on Mission Bay in San Diego. An estimated 6.1 million people in America use a wheel chair. Her plan is to continue to reach out to those people and encourage them to take advantage of these wonderful adaptive sports programs. This is the only camp of its kind in California. Danamarie says her goal is to “continue to use my title to increase donations and to increase more sports camp locations for disabled children, adults and veterans across the United States.”
McNicholl-Carter caught the judge’s attention last summer when she placed fourth-runner up in the 2011 Miss California Outstanding Teen Pageant, she plans to run again this June to give the State crown another shot.
Source and photo: Danamarie McNicholl-Carter
Victoria Renard remembers the day she gave up her Miss Washington Outstanding Teen crown very well. She remembers having difficulty crowning her successor–not because of emotions, however. It was tough because her sister is two inches taller than her.
That’s right, sisters Victoria and Nicole Renard have the distinction of being the first back-to-back MAOTeen titleholders in history.
“Seeing my sister come out on the stage holding the crown was a feeling unlike any other and honestly I don’t remember much of it,” says Nicole about being crowned Miss Washington Outstanding Teen 2011. “My crowning picture does a good job of summing up how I felt and what I did: gave all the glory to God. There was no way I had just won that by my own talents.”
The feat was especially amazing since, at first, only Victoria had pageant aspirations. Nicole recalls receiving a brochure in the mail for a pageant that interested her sister–and she recalls having no interest in pageants whatsoever.
“The first time she competed I looked over at my mom and said, ‘Never sign me up for this’” says Nicole. “Little did I know, one day she would be passing on one of the most prestigious titles for teens in Washington to me.”
Victoria and Nicole agree that they have been best friends their entire lives, so it only makes sense that Nicole followed Victoria and her interests. Being two years apart, they were involved in many of the same activities–dance, school leadership, volunteering, Young Life, and, eventually, pageantry.
“I can speak for Nicole and I both on the fact that our parents have been absolutely wonderful throughout our pageant journey,” says Victoria. “Thank goodness for my mom’s organizational skills and my dad’s knack at packing our luggage so it all fits into our car! None of this would be possible without them.”
Royalty gathered last week for the 2012 Duke of Edinburgh's Award presentation. Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler and the Duke of Edinburgh His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex joined MAO Board Chairman Sam Haskell in Alabama to award those with upstanding community service, physical fitness, special skill, and adventurous journey.
The event was hosted by the Miss Alabama Scholarship Organization and coordinated by Executive State Director Nan Teninbaum. The organization hosted a tea for this year's award recipients. Among the pageant winners awarded were Bronze Award Recipients Miss Maine 2011 Julia Furtado, Miss Wyoming 2011 Catherine Brown, Miss North Carolina 2011 Hailey Best, Miss Florida 2011 Kristina Janolo, Miss West Virginia 2011 Spenser Wempe, and Miss Connecticut 2011 Morgan Amarone. The 2012 Bronze and Silver Award Recipient was Miss Alabama 2011 Courtney Porter. This year's Gold Award Recipients were Miss Ohio 2011 Ellen Bryan, and Miss South Carolina 2011 Bree Boyce.
Miss America 2012 also attended the Duke of Edinburgh-Royal Gala the evening of the awards ceremony. The gala is an organization fundraiser. Laura and other state title holders performed at the event and welcomed Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs Gunn.
Source: MAO Photo: The Birmingham News
Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen Bailey Wachholz's motto is never give up when it comes to pageants and her platform. Crowned in March, Bailey tried four times before she won the title, but she was not discouraged. Now she is marching onward in her year of service to bring awareness to Alzheimer's disease.
"A couple months before my first pageant, Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen 2009, my father was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's disease. Being so young, I didn't know anything about the disease and had no idea it could happen to a parent. From there I knew that I needed to compete," Bailey says.
Bailey was thirteen at the time. Her platform, "Remember Me? Alzheimer's Through the Eyes of a Child," has three focuses, to educate, to advocate, and to support, Bailey says.
"At first my platform was just a platform for a pageant, but now it's my life."
Bailey visits students of all ages. She developed Minnesota's first education program for college students to learn about Alzheimer's disease. She advocates at the state level before the Minnesota's Senate and House of Representatives for research funding.
"Alzheimer's is the most under-funded disease of the top ten diseases that kill people in America," she says.
At the heart of her platform is a girl who has experienced the effects of Alzheimer's first hand, and because of that, she works with others who have loved ones suffering from the disease.
"I support through facilitating the only support group in Minnesota for young adults and children that are affected by Alzheimer's disease specifically," she says.
Bailey is seventeen years old, and she aspires to become a broadcast journalist.
DeAnna Jerge, Miss San Miguel County New Mexico, assisted Keep New Mexico Clean & Beautiful with its statewide kick off of “Green Starts Here" on March 8 in Ruidoso, New Mexico. DeAnna’s Platform, “Keep America Beautiful,” and recycling initiatives have gained her recognition on both the state and national level.
DeAnna was crowned on December 3, 2011 after years of service and participation in the Miss America Organization. The previous Miss Roswell (crowned January 29, 2011) placed in the Top 10 in the Miss New Mexico Pageant in June 2011. She has received President Obama’s award for outstanding community service for founding the “Teens Go Green” recycling program in 2010. She met with New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and area legislators to talk about renewable energy and resources. DeAnna recently finished writing a children’s book entitled “EuroDog Saves the Planet” and hands out seed packets to encourage planting among young people. She prides herself on beautification (i.e. recycling). She wants to give the slogan “natural beauty” a whole new meaning to include our natural surroundings.
Throughout the months of March, April, and May, an anticipated twelve hundred Keep America Beautiful affiliates and participating organizations will bring together an estimated 3.8 million volunteers to produce more vibrant, beautiful, cleaner, and safer towns and cities. DeAnna is proud that her platform of environmental stewardship is getting the recognition it so richly deserves.
“Service to the community is the ultimate demonstration that you love where you live,” said Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “Participating in the Great American Cleanup can become a foundation for uniting friends, family, neighbors and communities in activities that don’t just make your community aesthetically pleasing, but also make it more effective at overcoming challenges.”
DeAnna, 18, will continue on her path of environmental service while she competes in future Miss America pageants. She is looking forward to the Mis New Mexico Pageant this June. DeAnna is studying public relations and elementary education.
Source and photo: Laurie Jerge
Haley Butler was crowned Miss Tennessee's Outstanding Teen this St. Patrick's Day. But what's more extraordinary than the 17-year-old's self-composed violin numbers or her work with Children's Miracle Network is that Haley's life and ability to compete in MAOT almost never happened.
When Haley was born in MaAnshan, China, her birth mother left her under a tree with her birth date pinned to her clothes. The family was already walking on egg shells with China's One Child Policy–they had three daughters already before she was born. Haley was picked up by local authorities and placed in an orphanage. But what started out as a rocky year for the small baby ended in serendipity. Not long after her placement in the orphanage, the Butler family picked her up out of solitude and brought her home to Tennessee.
In 2009, Haley located her birth parents in MaAnshan, and she is still in contact with them today. Her birth mother calls her "Yuan," which in Chinese means, "destiny ties people together." Haley was featured in Somewhere Between, a documentary that took note of the nearly eighty thousand Chinese trans-racial adoptees. The movie will premier this summer.
Haley is making the most of her miraculous circumstances. She is a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, which signifies extraordinary community service. Haley carries this point of the crown into everything she does. Her personal platform is "Celebrating Life."
Source: Wendy King Photo: Jan Crowell
Miss Rolling Plains is advocating for children's literacy one book at a time. Tessa Elizabeth Dee launched Project Bookworm as an online resource for parents of children struggling with literacy. Now, the University of South Dakota junior has taken her organization to the next level.
Project Bookworm is a hands-on reading experience for children. Tessa organizes reading and writing events for children, and she works directly with first grade students to improve reading and comprehension. Increasing literacy will put students on the path to success, and Tessa says she has experienced the benefits for herself.
"Being a good reader has given me the chance to become a better writer, communicator, and analytical thinker," she says. "I truly believe that nothing is more important than a child being able to read."
Tessa entered her first local pageant on a whim, she says, and won the title, much to her surprise. The Miss America Organization has given her a louder voice for children's literacy, and she is incorporating her organization with the MAO platform–Children's Miracle Network.
"I am actually going to our local Children's Miracle Network hospital to host an event and meet the children. I am more than excited because from everything I have done this year as Miss Rolling Plains, nothing has been as rewarding as the time I've spent with CMN. To bring together two things that I care so much about is more than I could ask for," she says.
Tessa works with local libraries to put on events that help children write their own books. She encourages the kids to read their book to their families. Tessa says her goal is to turn Project Bookworm into a "full-fledged non-profit organization," and she hopes to develop the organization throughout her state and the rest of the country.
Tessa will compete for the state title this June.
Jenee Johnson is working hard for Indiana's state pageant. This local director is positive and pro-active, and the success of the program is living proof.
Jenee is the kind of volunteer that every state wants. She isn't afraid to work hard, she truly believes in the value of the program, and she is dedicated to the success of others–whether they are her contestants or other volunteers.
Her volunteerism came through a friend who encouraged her to get involved, and the rest is history.
"I've always been aware of the pageant," says Jenee. "And even though I modeled for a while, I never got involved in competing. I finally became a volunteer when I was working at a gym. The gym wanted to offer the local contestants a prize package. Once I met the contestants and my friend urged me to volunteer, it was an easy decision."
She started out helping here and there and eventually became a local director of the Miss Three Rivers pageant. This is an open pageants, meaning contestants from all over Indiana can enter. There is also a Miss Three Rivers Festival pageant that is not associated with the Miss Indiana pageant.
"I was recently asked to become a board member of the Miss Three Rivers Festival pageant," says Jenee. "It's an honor to be elected to their board. We have talked about combing the festival and the pageant, but the connection was never there. Regardless, we love working with them."
Forging relationships is one of Jenee's strengths, and it has also strengthened her pageant. One unlikely but wonderful ally for her pageant is the local chapter of Sports Car Clubs of America. The local chapter contacted Jenee and asked if her titleholder would be interested in handing out trophies at one of their events. Jenee responded positively and suggested that she also sing the national anthem. That suggestion sparked a relationship that has grown.
"It turns out that no one had ever sung the national anthem at any of their events," says Jenee. "We went and ended up having such a good time that we went to the rest of their events for the rest of the year. And they had a representative attend our pageant and give the outgoing titleholder flowers during her final walk."
Volunteers like Jenee are the backbone of the Miss Indiana pageant and, on a larger scale, the Miss America Organization. She is one of the quiet heroes who is willing to give of her time, effort, and energy to an organization that she believes in.
To read more about Jenee and volunteers like her, subscribe to fourpoints magazine!
An untimely tornado on February 29 postponed Dancing with the Stars Branson, but producers of the show made lemonade of the situation by redirecting funds raised to aid those affected by the storm.
Miss Branson 2012, Tippe Emmott, was asked to participate in the Dancing with the Stars event which took place March 7 at an alternative venue. Dancers and Miss Branson helped to raise $33,299 that will be donated to those recovering from the damage of the tornado.
Tippe will compete for Miss Missouri in June.
Source: Susan Fiedler, Co-Executive Director Miss Springfield and Miss Branson