Monday, April 12, 2010

America's Ultimate Miss Pageant

In all my years of involvement in pageantry, I have never seen a director that is as dedicated and committed to his pageant and his queens as Mr. Kirk with the America's Ultimate Miss National Pageant.  I was honored to be a part of his production which started on Friday and went until Sunday afternoon.

This pageant hosted preliminaries earlier in the year at which the contestants could win the opportunity to 1) Hold a title or 2) Go on to compete for an America's Ultimate Miss title.  There were ten age groups from dollbaby to Mrs. and at least five contestant in each competition.  In total, there were 92 contestants that competed for the various titles this weekend.   

What amazed me the most was the 1) the organization of all 92 contestants, but 2) THE PRIZES!  After EACH phase of competition each contestant was given a gift.  These gifts ranged from a huge makeup set to a mini gumball machine, zuzu pets, etc.  The winners got a flat Screen TV (went to High Point winner), Jewelry, Makeup, life size Mini Mouse doll, crowned queen piggy bank...and the list goes on and on.  Honestly, I wanted to enter myself in the competition just for the prizes!  

Saturday evening the reigning queens were escorted in a LIMO to The Dairy Mart for dinner, fellowship, and ice cream:)  After that followed a dance party and autograph signing!  The evening was a blast, but both Jackie Riggleman, Miss WV's Outstanding Teen, and I got to spend the evening with the NEW reigning Miss Virginia, China Helmendollar.  
(Before, in limo on our way to Dairy Mart for some dinner  and ice cream - yum!)

[Dance Party & Autograph Session]

On Friday, the casual wear competition and (optional) disco wear competition took place.  Saturday, (optional) fashion modeling, swimsuit, interview, and evening gown.  Sunday the winners were announced and each age group was crowned. 
[Doll Baby, Baby Miss, Tiny Miss]

[Pre-Teen Miss, Teen Miss, Junior Miss]

[Senior Miss, Miss Ultimate Miss]

[Mrs. Ultimate Miss~  Had to put even the blurry picture in because she was so excited and jumping up and down!]

Jackie & I got to spend some MUCH NEEDED time together which is always so enjoyable!  Her mom was in attendance as well and the two of them together such a delight to be around. I am going to miss Jackie after our years conclude...guess I will just be driving up to Morgantown to see her~  

[In Virginia, the trend is to have others sign your titled sash, instead of an autograph card.  Interesting, but a definite keepsake that you will have forever!]

Kanawaha County After Schools

This week was full of after school programs.  Because of the many snow storms that we had all over the state earlier in the year and testing around the corner, the school officials felt is most appropriate to invite Miss WV to the various different after school programs in Kanawha County.  At each of these schools, I delivered the message of overcoming adversity, pursuing your dreams, never letting one thing define who you are.

I was offered a few teaching jobs once I was finished with my year.  I was flattered, but I still haven't COMPLETELY figured out what I want to do yet.  I am living each day to the fullest in my current job and then will worry about the future later:)

(All pictures were taken at Ruffner Elementary School)


(Pictures from Elk Elementary Center)

(Ruthlawn Elementary)

(At Alban Elementary)

(At Central Elementary After School Program)

Grandview Elementary After School

I think when you are least looking out for God's involvement in your everyday life, He shows up.  I was asked to come and speak to Grandview Elementary's after school program about making positive choices.  After the presentation, as usual we did a short Q&A.  The kids asked the normal questions about "What does it feel like to be Miss WV, "What is your favorite part," "Did you come in a limo," "What is Miss WV," etc.  This time one of the teachers asked a question.  She simply wanted to know where I was from, and I replied "Jackson County, about 30 minutes from here."

Later after I had concluded my presentation, she asked me if I knew the Kerseys, Ashley, Jim and Debbie.  I replied, "Yes! I just love Ashley!  How is Debbie doing?"  We then talked for 30 minutes about Debbie's battle with cancer and how Ashley and Jim were taking it.  I then asked her how she knew them.  She teared up and said "I am Ashley's aunt and take care of their home when I am not at school." We both just sat in the cafeteria...with the kids running around...and got tears in our eyes.  

I realized then, that God needed me to go to that school so I would see how good I had it, that I still had my mom around and will forever...I hope.  That I didn't have family members that were battling with life-threatening diseases.  That I had this wonderful dream come true.  I needed to see that there were others around me that were battling and I needed to reach out.  

She, the wonderful teacher, was brought into my life for more than just a school presentation.

Glenwood Elementary School

Like Piedmont, I presented on overcoming adversity and pursuing your goals.  I told a few more personal stories at this school and then it was time for the Q&A.  This time the kids really weren't interested in knowing more about Miss WV, or the job.  They wanted to hear me sing and see the swimsuit walk!

After about 10 questions and MUCH pestering, I agreed to sing them a few bars and then 'try' my swimsuit walk in flats.  It wasn't that successful - in my mind - but they thought so!  I got a standing ovation!  Kids.....they are so easily amused and amazed, but honestly, I love it!

Piedmont Elementary School

Piedmont Elementary school was so mannerly.  You could tell that the teachers, principal and staff kept a tight grip on the behavior of the students there.  So much so, that after my 20 minute talk about overcoming adversity and pursuing your dreams, one of the girls asked me, "Miss WV....I don't want to offend you, but what is it like to be old?"  I, along with all of the staff, busted out laughing, and I went on to answer the question, "Well honey, it isn't too bad being an adult, but when the bills come and need paid, I wish I was still in 3rd grade!"

Their welcome sign was so nice and made me feel welcomed...even if I was old enough to be that little girl's teacher:)

WV Bikers Rally

The Saturday before Easter, I spent the day in Harpers Ferry, WV at a WV Bikers Rally.  This was a fun and interesting event that certainly opened my eyes to the biking world.  I talked to the various different attendees and vendors that day about the different types, paint, engines, etc. of every bike you could imagine.  With a rough estimate, I would guess there to be 500+ bikes there taking part in the fellowship.  It was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day that was perfect for this kind of rally!

Jackson County Schools - Henry J. Kaiser & Gilmore

It felt so good to be in my hometown, in "my schools."  I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Henry J. Kaiser Elementary in Ravenswood and Gilmore Elementary in Sandyville.  Each school was so well behaved and so fun to be with. 

Most of the time it is the Q&A afterward where you get the funny questions/statements, but not this was the beginning of the presentation!  There was a little boy that commented on my earrings.  He said "I love your earrings!  My mom wears ones like that too!"  I laughed because of his observance, but took the compliment and felt like a queen from that moment on.  The next little boy asked me to come over to him.  He said he had a secret  I leaned down and he asked me "Miss WV, where did you get your hat?"  He was referring to my crown, and the boy beside of him elbowed him and said in the most serious voice, "That is a CROWN, not a HAT!"  I just had to laugh, but it was like these kids had adult mannerisms....wonder where they get it from? lolololol

Anyway, being in my home county felt so good and comforting!  There is just something about that feeling of home....

Slam Dunk 600: Habitat for Humanity

Habitat For Humanity of WV: Providing support to local affiliates with resources, training, awareness and advocacy.  During the Slam Dunk 600 Charity Basketball Game, they made sure that statement rang true!  They were raising money and awareness for the 600th Habitat House that was to be built in Jackson County - my home County~  This event went off without a hitch and you could tell MUCH preparation and time went into the planning and execution.

Mission Statement

I was privileged to sing the National Anthem and open up the evening's festivities.  From there, the game was off and it was Team Habitat - made up of Celebrity volunteers - against the WV Blazers professional basketball team.  

During the game they opened up the court to a younger boy that was selected out of the crowd to play with the Blazers.  First, they put him through an "initiation" to make sure he was fit for the team, then let him loose on the court.  If you look at the pictures you can see a little boy in a jersey that is as long as he is!  Watch out ....he is fast and talented!


Mayor Carolyn Rader donated her time and was the dog mascot for the Blazers basketball team.  She said that suit was as hot as a fiery furnace and she knew what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego felt like now!  She is a wonderful person that NEVER STOPS donating her time to her community.