If you have ever had the privilege of judging a Miss America preliminary pageant, you know that it is a wonderful opportunity and a huge responsibility. When you are asked to join a panel of judges, you are being asked to choose a titleholder who will represent a community for an entire year and go on to the next level of competition. It's not an easy job, or one that should be taken lightly. Be an able, competent judge by using this guide.
Know the Scoring System
The Miss America Organization has its own unique scoring system, like all pageant systems. Before the day your pageant begins, familiarize yourself with the scoring rubric so you give thoughtful scores to each contestant.
For preliminary competitions, each contestant is judged in all phases of competition (interview, talent, onstage question, swimsuit, and evening wear) and given a score ranging from one to ten. There is no hard and fast rule on what kind of performance deserves a certain score–that is up to your discretion. It is a subjective scoring system, but McNeil Chestnut, a volunteer in North Carolina who often teaches judging seminars, suggests that you start with a five. Before a contestant steps on the stage or in the interview room, is is at a five–average. From there, her score can go up or down. Very low scores (one to three) or very high scores (eight to ten) should be reserved for extreme performances. A good way to avoid comparative scoring is to act as if each contestant is the only contestant in the pageant.
Know What You Are Looking For
Each titleholder within the Miss America system has the same basic job–represent her community during her year of service, work on her platform, and compete at the next level. However, each local or state title has unique responsibilities and requirements. During your judging prep at the pageant, ask pointed questions to the judges chairperson or executive director on exactly what kind of contestant they are searching out. For example, some titleholders do intensive school tours during their year. You will need to find a contestant who is willing and able to travel constantly, can speak to large, diverse groups, and thinks quickly on her feet. You are always searching for the next Miss State or Miss America, but the reality is this: only one contestant goes on to hold that title.
Know the End Game
When you judge a pageant and see your titleholder crowned, it can feel like an ending. In actuality, it's all just beginning for the newly crowned titleholder and the pageant that will support her. In the moment that crown is placed on her head, her entire life has changed. It is imperative that you take your job of judging very seriously. You are giving a pageant system a titleholder that will help further their message and forever be a part of their history. You are making a difference.
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As a storeowner, when I am consulting a new girl for the first time, I always want to talk to them and see what their personality is like. I ask them, “What type of look are you going for? What did you envision yourself in? What kind of fit do you like? Do you have an inspiration of a titleholder? What looks make you feel beautiful when trying on gowns? What is your budget?”
From there, the fun begins. I start pulling dresses and have them start trying them on. Determining the contestant’s personality is important because the dress has to reflect the personality of the contestant (e.g., fun, playful, outgoing, elegant). She should be wearing the dress–not the dress wearing her.
Beyond that, some top key elements of finding the perfect dress would be the fit of the gown. It definitely needs to highlight the best parts of their body. Color is also a factor; it needs to be complimentary to her skin tone. And make use of the opinions of others. The opinion of directors can help guide a contestant to make the appropriate choice based on color, fit, style, and budget.
The biggest factor in finding the perfect dress is how the contestant ultimately feels in her gown because the right look will only help her exude confidence and her true beauty will shine through. The winning choice is the gown that brings the biggest smile to the contestant’s face, makes her feel beautiful, and if she does not want to take it off.
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Source: Larissa Maner owns Shimmer Boutique in Carrollton, Texas Photo: David Jones/stock.xchng
The Miss America Organization is proud to announce that Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler has been named by STEMconnector.org as one of the Top 100 Women Leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
According to STEMconnector, Laura was chosen based on her efforts to promote "education for young women and her personal platform: mentoring children of incarcerated parents."
"Much of Laura's time is spent encouraging young women to pursue studies in STEM subjects in an effort to bridge the gender gap among an already pressing issue," according to the STEMconnector publication.
"As I look at the statistics and see that 49 percent of female students say that they chose a STEM profession to help make a difference in our world, I become even more passionate about promoting this type of education. Every day I meet children from all walks of life throughout my travels and they share amazing stories about their hopes and dreams. If we can channel those dreams into applied sciences and formal education and an application of their personal interests, then we can foster them into reality rather than simply smiling with pride," Laura says.
This one-of-a-kind publication honors the careers and initiatives of one hundred women in all STEM industries. With this, STEMconnector aims to advance the cause of more girls and women pursuing a STEM career as the United States' economy relies more than ever on a prepared STEM workforce. The publication was presented for the first time at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Summit.
The women included in this tribute share the commitment of taking over the cause and serving as mentors and sponsors of those who are next in the jobs pipeline. In the STEMconnector publication, readers learn the inspiring stories that showcase the traits needed to advance in the STEM world and how women can make a difference.
The publication will feature several key CEOs, presidents, and key public officials, including four U.S. Senators, an EPA/NASA Administrator, and a Deputy Administrator respectively.
One hundred Women Leaders in STEM will also present opinion editorials featuring interesting data on women in STEM. Some of the pieces written include commentary from the Society of Women Engineers; ABT Associates / TERC; Center for Energy Workforce Development; American Association of University Women; Girls, Inc; National Science Foundation; U.S. News and World Report; The American Institute of Architects; Aerospace Industries Association; and Bayer USA Foundation.
Source and photo: MAO
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler participated in the U.S. News STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Solutions Summit last month. The Summit was the first event of its kind and brought together major players to work towards a competitive STEM workforce. Taking place on a national stage, the Summit had a lineup of top speakers ranging from educators, technology experts, policymakers, business executives, government officials, and community leaders. Also for the first time, U.S. News STEM Solutions brought together youth delegations to participate in the Summit so they could actively engage in creating solutions.
As Miss America 2012, Laura encourages women to pursue a college education and focus interests in the arts, as well as STEM education. Along with the Miss America Organization, she supports and targets female students who are currently underrepresented in STEM professions. Laura spoke in the Summit's session on "Leading by Example: The Need for STEM Mentors." She was also a keynote speaker at the Innovate+Educate Youth Summit, where she spoke on the importance of the youth voice in STEM education.
Source: MAO Photo: Deb Knoske
Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler recently shared the impact of her father going to prison when she was a teenager with the Osborne Association, a nonprofit organization that serves more than seven thousand currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families each year, to give a voice to the 2.7 million children in the United States. with a parent in prison. The Osborne Association honored Laura with the Thomas Mott Osborne Medal at this record-breaking fundraising event, which hosted seven hundred attendees. Miss America helped the organization double their audience that night.
“Children of incarcerated parents are an invisible population, and tragically there is no one agency responsible for their welfare,” stated Laura in her platform statement after her crowning as Miss Wisconsin in 2011. “During that time, I experienced emotions of isolation and anger due to the vast publicity this situation was given in my home town. Because of this experience, it has become my mission in life to help children overcome this adversity while understanding they are not alone and must never give up on themselves.”
Laura spoke at the June breakfast hosted by the Osborne Association, an 80-year-old nonprofit organization that has pioneered programs that empower individuals with current or previous involvement in the criminal justice system to lead positive, healthy, and productive lives, and to deepen connections to their families and communities. For the last thirty years, Osborne has also led a movement to address the well-being of the children and family members who are left behind after a loved one is incarcerated. Click here for more information.
Last week, Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler received the Courage Award from the Care Plus Foundation for her platform work in advocating for children of incarcerated parents. She received the award at the Care Plus Foundation's annual Courage Awards in Garfield, New Jersey.
The foundation, in its fourteenth year, honors and celebrates individuals, groups, and corporations that work on behalf of others who face the daily and lifelong challenges of mental illness and substance abuse. Other honorees in attendance at the event include David L. Ganz, Bergen Country Freeholder, and HOMECorp of Montclair, New Jersey.
Source and photo: MAO Photo: Laura Kaeppeler embraces Samira Chapman, a 13-year-old client of the Care Plus Foundation, after they sang "One Moment in Time" together on stage.
Pageant programs have the unique opportunity to provide role models. Contestants are successful, well spoken, committed to their communities and education, and passionate about giving back. What better representatives to teach young girls about increasing sense of self worth, improving perspective toward education, helping develop and define short-term and long-term goals, providing support and encouragement, and helping girls to become self-sufficient, motivated adults?
At the same time, a princess program can be a solid fundraiser for your pageant, but how does one go about starting a program? The following steps will help guide you through the process:
It is important to treat the princess program as a separate "business." It must have its own goals, leadership, and focus. You are preparing your future contestants, volunteers, and leaders.
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Source: Stephen Frocchi Photo: John Wenger
With state pageants starting, hundreds of young women across the country are working toward the goal of representing their state at Miss America. They tweak their wardrobes, rehearse their talents, polish their interview skills, facilitate community service projects, and raise money for charities dear to them, including Children’s Miracle Network. As they balance school, work, and preparation, they all search for the perfect formula. What will set them apart and give them the ever illusive “it factor” that so many of our favorite Miss America contestants exude?
The “it factor” is a very subjective, undefined quality that some believe you either have or you don’t. It’s something you know you are in the presence of as soon as you see it. But you can develop your own personal “it factor” by following some of these tips:Embrace service above self. Community service can be a life altering experience that chances who you are at your very core. Service to others allows us to see the world through the eyes of people from various walks of life. It is fun to shine onstage, but it is even more rewarding to make a difference in someone else’s life.
The Miss America crown is a symbol that represents service, style, scholarship, and success. Allow this symbol to be a reminder of the standard of excellence we have come to expect in a Miss America.
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Pageants aren't the only ones who need to fundraise–contestants also need to raise money for Children's Miracle Network, as well as their own personal platform organizations.
Each year, the Miss America Organization makes more than $45 million scholarship dollars available to young women on the local, state, and national level. Fundraising is a large function of local and state pageants, as well as on the national level. But it isn't just pageants that are raising money and opening doors. Contestants at each level raise money for the Children's Miracle Network, as well as charitable groups connected to their personal platforms. Fundraising is no an easy task n this unstable economic climate, but contestants still manage to raise money. There are a variety of ways to do this, from holding special events to other promotions.
Miss Prairie Rose 2012 Cat Taylor found a fun way to raise money for her personal platform, "Be Aware It's In the Air: Weather Safety," and her community service project, "Tiaras For Tornado Safety." At large events, like the National Weather Festival, Cat sells small tiaras, mostly to young girls. She gets to education the children on emergency weather preparedness, and the girls walk away with a glamorous trinket. Cat is able to purchase the tiaras for a small price, and all of her profits enable her to provide portable weather radios to local school administrators.
"It is always fun to see the girls' happy faces when they walk past my booth as a newly crowned princess," explains Cat.
Here are some other basic fundraising ideas:
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Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler made a stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this week, where fourpoints writers and photographers escorted her around the city for the April/May cover story and photo shoot. Laura visited the Grand Rapids Montessori to speak at an assembly for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students, then she spent time with children in the school's afterschool program.
Students in the afterschool LOOP program showed Laura their LEGO projects that they made as part of the STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Math–curriculum. The Miss America Organization is focusing on enhancing awareness of educational programs like STEM, especially for girls, this year.
“Miss America, as we know, is a scholarship organization, but it’s also an organization of female empowerment, and an organization that is encouraging young people to become involved in fields related to STEM,” Laura said.
Laura was in Michigan on Tuesday and Wednesday. She flew to New York Wednesday evening.
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