Sunday, March 21, 2010

Miss Marion County Preliminary

(All titleholders)

(Emily Shaffer, Miss Appalacia, provided us entertainment during the pageant.  She did a WONDERFUL job!)

This Saturday was spent at the LAST preliminary pageant for the Miss WV Scholarship Organization.  The Miss Marion County preliminary pageant gave away three titles and those titles were awarded to one veteran and two brand new girls. 

I explained to each of the contestants that I didn’t get to where I am today by winning each preliminary I participated in.  I didn’t give up though and knew the end goal and what I wanted to gain from my experience in this organization.  Each girl that competed this year holds a special place in my heart and I look forward to seeing each and every one of them compete again next year.

(Teen Titleholders)

MHS Charity Talent Show

Morgantown High School hosted their second Annual Mohawk Idol.  This is a fundraiser put on by the MHS Student Council and benefits the Mountaineer Spay and Neuter Assistance Program as well as WVU Children’s Hospital.  I was asked to judge and couldn’t wait for the talent to start competing.

In the Elementary/Middle School division there were 10 contestants – ages first grade through seventh grade.  In the High School division there were 12 contestants.  Some played the piano, some the guitar, some sang solo, some sang with friends and there was even a JUGGLER!  

Actually, this was one of the most, if not the most, entertaining and fun appearance I was asked to participate in.  I was super stoked to be a part and thought the talent from both age groups was phenomenal!

In the Elementary/Middle Age division there was a little first grade boy that sang and played the guitar.  Even though was the youngest participant, he WON!   He is pictured below and was adorable.

When asked what he was going to do with his prize money of $100.00, he shrugged and said, “Probably put it in my wallet!  I have $63 dollars already in there and I want to save it.”  I was in love then and asked him to spare a few dollars and take me out for ice cream afterwards.  He said he would if his sister could come along.  I about snatched him up and took him home then!

In the High School division the winner of $100.00 as well was a girl who sang “Part of the World” by the Little Mermaid.  I was a little skeptical when it started, just for the mere fact that this girl was a senior in high school singing a child’s song, but she was fantastic!  She really sold it and that is what set her apart from the others.  

Titleholder Gabriel Ash, Miss Doddridge County, was able to attend with me and we had a great time catching up!

Chestnut Mountain Ranch

Chestnut Mountain Ranch is a residential school program for children. Their admissions are based on an extensive intake process and the appropriateness of the child for the program. 
West Virginia is like many areas of the country that needs a program that brings hope and healing to children, but West Virginia statistics for children at risk are higher than most states. Detailed statistics from the Child Welfare League of America and the Anne E. Casey Foundation provide proof for the need.

Chestnut Mountain Ranch is devoted to reaching these children to bring hope and healing. The program is based on a the time proven program of Eagle Ranch, and the success rate for these children developing into strong productive adults with healthy families of their own is great. The vision for Chestnut Mountain Ranch started years ago when Stephen Finn was a police officer in metro-Atlanta. Steve and his wife, Dawn, felt that one day they would work with at-risk youth on a full time basis. After 11+ years in law enforcement, Steve felt that God was calling him to serve full-time in ministry.

Through a series of events Steve and Dawn found out about Eagle Ranch, a boy's and girls home located in Georgia, and they soon found themselves leaving behind what was familiar and becoming full-time houseparents to seven troubled teens. During their time at Eagle Ranch, their vision for starting a children's home that would bring hope and healing to children in crisis began to grow. Through Eagle Ranch's guidance, they became equipped to take on this great task.

A thorough study was conducted of various states, and areas of need. During their time of research they found themselves in Steve's home state of West Virginia. They quickly found that the need was great for a children's home like Eagle Ranch.  Chestnut Mountain Ranch got its name from Eagle Ranch's hometown of Chestnut Mountain, Georgia. 

This week there was a college group in representing Habitat for Humanity that worked on or around the ranch this entire week.  They were a group of 15 young adults that were lead by the gentleman pictured below.  I had a wonderful time visiting with them and also catching up with Steve Flinn and his family around their dinner table.  

Week of After Schools~

Many Miss WV titleholders got to school or live in Morgantown.  Two titleholders, Maggie Power & Megan Otte were able to join me at the Mountainview Middle School appearance.  The boy to the FAR RIGHT asked me what he looked like in the picture since he was cracking his back.  We all got such a laugh out of it that he made me put it on the blog.

Due to the MANY snow storms that have occurred here in WV this winter season, my school tour has reached out to every school program imaginable to fulfill the required amount of schools....and keep busy.  So this week in Morgantown I visited seven after school programs.  I started out my week at Brookhaven Elementary and finished up at Suncrest Primary School.  In between, appearance locations consisted of Mountainview Middle, North Elementary, Skyview Elementary, and Cheat Lake Elementary.  Because of these appearances being with the various after school programs, each day offered something different; which I loved!

(Suncrest Primary School - LOVED each and every one of these students.  The boy raising his hands was a blast!)

WV Bow Hunters Association Dinner

The WV Bow Hunters Association Awards Banquet is an annual appearance for the Miss Kanawha Valley Scholarship Organizations titleholders.  Well, since I was a FORMER titleholder and Miss WV was an attendee to the event last year, I was able again to help out with the festivities.  

(He wanted to make sure that we got his leg raise in the picture, lololol  Great guys.)

Altogether we had four girls that were to help out with the various games and raise funds for the association.  The girls in attendance were:  Misty McMinn, Mrs. WV International, Emily Shaffer, Miss Appalachia, Jessica Keefer, Miss Coal Valley, and myself.

The hunters would come in the door and encouraged to purchase a mug of tickets off of the beautiful titleholders.  From there, they would tear off the tickets and place their numbers into the various different buckets that would give them the opportunity to win that certain prize.  These prizes could run from a flashlight to a target deer or 18-person tent.  

(This little boy was DARLING!  I had to take a picture of him...he was kinda afraid of me though.)

Each titleholder was in charge of one game and these games were run somewhat the same way as the bucket/ticketed items.  My game offered the chance to win a Yorkiepoo puppy or a gun.  The interested hunter would pay $10 for a chance to win either item and would get either 2, 4, or 6 tickets, qualifying them for that many chances at a win.   

Honestly, I fell in love with the dog and paid more attention to it than I did the game and the hunters.  Good thing I had someone else helping me take the money and hand out the number of tickets drawn!  After it was all said and done, the association made $1500 on my dog game and much more on the other games offered at the dinner.  

The best way to describe this appearance was to consider yourself a “glorified hunting Vania White.”  Each of the titleholders had a great time helping raise funds for the association as well as being together. 

(Yes, this is called....only bringing with you what you need for that day or the next day.  I did go to the gas station for snacks with the girls in this 'get-up.'  I had those shoes from my outfit that I arrived in.  The sweat outfit was something I brought for hanging out, but didn't bring shoes.  And lastly, that is my winter coat.  I am not at all going to be on the 'fashion emergency' section of the next Star News!)

Geneva Kent & Culloden Elementary Schools

Much like Enslow Middle School, GenevaKent and Culloden Elementary Schools were wonderful schools to attend and present.  At Geneva Kent I did my normal Child Abuse & Neglect presentation, but at Culloden I talked to the fourth and fifth grades about overcoming adversity.  I loved talking to the older grades because the question and answer portion is always much more interesting.  You just never know what they are going to ask and how serious of a question it could be.

**Queen at Outback Steakhouse**

Throughout my year, I have been able to meet the most wonderful people that, honestly, I would have never crossed paths with without the title of Miss West Virginia.  After finishing up a day in Cabell County Schools, I was privileged to eat dinner with a wonderful family at Outback Steakhouse.  

We all had a blast, but Heidi (five year old little girl) was ecstatic to eat dinner with Miss West Virginia, so I surprised her by brining my crown, sash, and some clip on earrings that I found in the crown box.  She came dressed head to toe in Hello Kitty and even brought her own crown that she wears around the house.  Her brother seemed less than amused and was more interested in the cheese fries, but we didn’t care.  We had fun and she wore my crown and earrings during the whole dinner!

I look forward to seeing them again, but the next time, I think I will be getting my fashion advice from Little Miss Heidi:)

Enslow Middle School

Enslow Middle School was a BLAST to present to!  I did three presentations – one to all three grades – and each grade was vastly different with their responses to the presentation as well as questions during the interview portion.

These students were quality level students and were so easy to present to and interact with.  They were all ecstatic to get an autograph picture and I was excited to give each of them one as well! 

Soon after I finished my presentations, I headed down to Huntington’s Pullman Square and did a little damage at Runway Couture!