Privilege to be Miss Arkansas... week 6!

It was fantastic to have the luxury of some time to rest after returning from Orlando, where we had such a busy week! It was fun to work on my apartment and practice more of my dance. Guess what else happened this week … my birthday! I was so thankful to spend my birthday with people that I love! I had dinner with Josh, my family, and a group of college friends! My friend Lauren said it best “Friends are such a blessing!”

Monday night, I attended the grand opening of the Carlisle Civic Center and appreciation ceremony for Senator Bobby Glover, my Paw Paw! He has served in public office for 48 years, and I am grateful for his example of service! Arkansas and Lonoke counties have named an overpass and highway after him!

After I spoke at the appreciation dinner, Mayor Ray Glover presented me with the golden key of the city! He said, “Did they teach you about genes at college? Well, let me tell you how a gene pool works. Your great grandparents, grandparents, dad, aunt, and uncle all came from Carlisle. That means you get your good looks and talents from Carlisle! That’s why you got a key to the city!” Haha! He was a comedian all night long!

Birthday dessert at Bonefish... yum!

Birthday reunion with my college friends!

Cutting the ribbon at the new Carlisle Civic Center

Receiving the key to the city from Mayor Ray Glover
Paw Paw, me, and dad

Representative Tiffany Rogers with a proclamation from the state capitol!

I looked forward all week to speaking in Hot Springs at Balboa Baptist Church and sharing my testimony! I told about my experience mentoring disadvantaged youth and pregnant teenagers through the Promise House. Balboa Baptist Church was a very engaging crowd, who blessed me with their encouragement and fellowship! Thank you for inviting me!

I enjoy so much being an advocate for my generation and always encourage second chances. In a church setting, I can relate this message to the grace given by God through His son Jesus. My God is the God of second chances! I pray that I get invited to many more churches and that He may be glorified in my message.

Balboa Baptist Church in Hot Springs
Speaking on Sunday morning

On Sunday afternoon, I met with the Miss Arkansas Board to discuss goals for my year. They offered an incredible amount of encouragement and guidance. Arkansas is blessed to have board members who give an immense amount of their time and service to our organization. As a contestant, I never realized all the effort required to make the opportunities and scholarships possible! Working with the board, I will strive to make our organization even stronger for future Miss Arkansas titleholders and contestants!

The Miss Arkansas Board members

I read the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan this week. It presented the very challenging message - to love selflessly. I desire to become more intentional with the people that I meet this year. I want to pray for the organizations that I work with and to keep in contact with the people I have met. I recognize the influence of the Miss Arkansas crown and hope to use any opportunity to maximize its impact!

This upcoming week, I’m excited to be meeting with many sponsors and old friends. I will get to visit Arkadelphia, Stuttgart, and Jonesboro. I also hope to surprise my “little sister” and my Miss Arkansas princess by showing up for lunch at their respective schools! I am thrilled to watch my schedule filling up for September and October. Every day, I am reminded that it is an absolute privilege to be Miss Arkansas!

Miss America's Outstanding Teen- Week 5!

On Tuesday, mom and I woke up around 5:00 a.m. to pack the last items and head to the Little Rock Airport. The flight to the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant took me from Little Rock to St. Louis, then from St. Louis to Orlando. During the last part of the trip, word spread around the plane that Miss Arkansas was on board. I really felt like a celebrity when asked to sign 7 autographs and meet both pilots! It was a fun beginning to the week ahead.

Upon arriving in Orlando, I quickly changed and headed to the first preliminary competition of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Ashton Campbell is Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be her sister queen! She is a loveable girl with a beautiful heart and a perfect representative for our state. She performed so well all week at the pageant, and I received many compliments from other Miss America contestants on her performance!

Miss Arkansas' Outsanding Teen
Tuesday evening I tried to meet as many Miss America contestants as possible and remember their names! Because it was Miss Hawaii’s birthday, Miss Washington organized a birthday dinner at Denny’s after the pageant. So .... 20 of us headed to Denny’s in our crowns and sashes. The waitresses wanted pictures of all the queens! Haha!

Wednesday was a free day so Miss Washington planned a trip to Universal Studios. (In case you haven’t noticed, Miss Washington is the organizer!) That day, I had a great time visiting with Miss Hawaii, Miss Nevada, Miss Ohio, and Miss Washington as we all toured Harry Potter Land. It was so magical!

On Wednesday afternoon, I met my Orlando roommate, Miss Missouri. She was a great roommate! Relaxed, humble, and down to earth, she is very considerate of others and lots of fun! We went to the preliminary competition together that night. I also enjoyed hanging out with Miss Nevada, who is very outgoing and committed to her state organization. It was fantastic to spend some more time with Miss Washington and Miss Hawaii. We have outstanding girls representing the Miss America Organization!

Thursday morning, the contestants each filmed a 60 second promotional video on “Why I should be the next Miss America.” We were encouraged to present creative videos, using lots of props. I decided to create a video describing, “The chemistry it takes to be the next Miss America!” I had an early wake-up since my video was filmed at 7:30 a.m. … but hopefully, when the videos are posted online later, you won’t be able to tell how tired I was! Amanda Farmer at Bella’s in Springdale ordered the perfect white lab coat for me to wear in the video! She also sent me some beautiful dresses and jewelry that I was excited to wear in Orlando! Thank you so much!

Thursday night, all contestants were invited to an Italian dinner with the Miss America Board. I enjoyed dinner with Miss Texas, who is a wonderful conversationalist. She is a great girl with so much wisdom about what matters in life. She was Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen 2006 and won two preliminaries at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. After she completed her year’s reign, her father was diagnosed with cancer. She decided to enter the Miss Texas Pageant with the platform of Leukemia Awareness. I look forward to spending more time in Vegas with Miss Texas, especially since she competes right before I do!

At the dinner, we were asked to introduce ourselves and share an interesting fact. Here are a few of the comments we heard: Miss Washington paid for her freshman year of college by playing the fiddle on the streets in California. Miss Alabama is the oldest contestant in Miss America, and I think it is Miss Virgin Islands who is the youngest contestant. Miss South Carolina can impersonate anyone and shared her hilarious Paula Deen impersonation. Miss Hawaii jumps rope for her talent and is coached by a professional rope jumper. Miss Colorado is the first contestant to compete in Miss America whose mother is a former Miss America.

Friday, we filmed a promotional video at Disney World. We left the hotel at 6:00 a.m. and started filming before the park opened. After an hour or so, we were divided into groups for the VIP tour. We rode 5 rides in 2 hours, including Space Mountain and Splash Mountain! We were served a delicious lunch in a Disney prop warehouse and then continued filming. They actually filmed our reactions on two rides, the Star Tour and Tower of Terror. Haha … I really hope they don’t put my Tower of Terror face on national television!

The day at Disney World was lots of fun, but long and, not surprisingly, hot. However, Miss Ohio had such a positive outlook, and she boosted our spirits! We were friends from the beginning, but I especially appreciated her laid back attitude on Thursday. She has an interesting story, too. Her older sister was struck by lightning several years ago. Since then, she has become an advocate for lightning safety and always pays attention to the weather. Although fully aware that Orlando is the lightning capital of the world, she handled her concern with great maturity. She is so kind and genuine … I really like Miss Ohio!

Friday night, we attended an extravagant party to meet the Miss America board members and celebrate our journey to Miss America. A magnificent mansion was the setting. The dinner featured elaborate tables of cheeses, fruits, freshly sliced meats, sushi, chocolate desserts, and two ice statues. We had fabulous entertainment that night and took pictures with Miss America, Teresa Scanlan. Many girls exclaimed that it was the highlight of their week!

Saturday consisted of a contestant meeting for Miss America and dinner with the girls. That afternoon, we signed autographs for the public and then attended the thrilling final night of competition for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. I was so proud of Ashton for the way she represented Arkansas and look forward to spending time with her this year! Congratulations to Ashton for winning Miss Photogenic and receiving a photo shoot featuring her on the front cover of
Four Points magazine! How cool!?

I absolutely loved my time in Orlando! I learned so much about the Miss America organization and feel much more prepared for Las Vegas. I loved meeting the girls from all over the country! Do you want to know what Miss America contestants talk about? Boyfriends! Haha! Probably 40 of us have boyfriends, and it seemed to be the topic every girl wanted to discuss! We also talked about our prize packages and scholarships received from winning the state title. Have I mentioned how grateful and blessed I am to represent Arkansas? Finally, we talked about the relationships we have with our former queens. I appreciate how fortunate I am to have many former Miss Arkansas titleholders who help and encourage me throughout the year! Dedicated advocates for our system, they desire to see the Miss Arkansas organization flourish.

This upcoming week will be great! I will attend a banquet in Carlisle in honor of my Paw-Paw, who has served in public office for many years … so thankful for his example of service! I will be in the dance studio throughout the week and preparing my school presentations for the month of September! Finally … I am celebrating my 22nd birthday on Thursday!! This will be the best birthday ever!

Teaching Moments. Week 4!

This past week was absolutely full of blessings and teaching moments! I am still stretching out my sore hamstrings after Ann Marie and I worked out three times during the week, but she is fantastic at helping me strive toward my fitness goals! Oak Forest Cleaners in Little Rock did a wonderful job of cleaning spray tan from my dresses and even my white evening gown! Thank you to Allen Tillery Chevrolet for my first oil change and a car wash after 4,000 miles on my Buick Regal! I also enjoyed shopping at the Royal We in Conway, Solemates in Little Rock, and Dillard’s in Hot Springs… all sponsors of Miss Arkansas. I appreciate these businesses very much! They help make my job really fun!

My wardrobe committee! Renee, me, and Lacy!

Early Tuesday morning, my brother called to say that his wife was going into labor! My parents and sister rushed to the hospital in Little Rock through a horrendous thunderstorm and, thankfully, arrived safely. I had an appearance in DeWitt that morning and couldn’t go with them to the hospital. As I walked into the DeWitt High School Cafeteria, I received a text message from my excited sister about the arrival of our new niece! She is so beautiful, and our family is so proud of her!

Daddy, baby, and me!

While in DeWitt, I had the great privilege of speaking to all teachers in the school district! This was the first public speaking appearance where I was given the opportunity to share my platform of mentoring. Public speaking is seriously my favorite part of this job! I told stories about the girls I have mentored through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Organization and the Promise House shelter for pregnant teenagers. Concluding the speech, I challenged the teachers to recognize their unique position to influence youth as mentors! Teachers have direct contact with so many teenagers, some of whom have limited interaction with parents or other adults. Teachers have the opportunity to set a positive example, and I admire their work as mentors!

After speaking to the teachers, I was elated that many of them asked for pictures and autographs. One teacher gave some meaningful encouragement. She whispered, “I really appreciate the work you are doing with pregnant teenagers! I was a teenage mom and know the struggle. Not very many teenage moms have the strength or encouragement to make it as far as I have. That’s why I appreciate your message.”

On Thursday, I met Mrs. June Felix for lunch. Mrs. June is a board member for the Miss Arkansas Organization and long-time volunteer. I LOVED listening to her stories of the pageant, former director Bob Wheeler, and former Miss Arkansas titleholders. I still have a lot to learn, and visiting with Mrs. June was so enlightening!

Speaking to teachers of the DeWitt school district.

I love teachers!

The Back to School Bash in Fordyce was another powerful experience. I was astounded by the community support for these children, as there were so many teachers and adults handing out free school supplies, backpacks, and shoes and providing health screenings. I had fun signing autographs and dancing with the kids as we got excited about school. I spoke on stage for a brief time and played a question game with the kids. Whoever correctly answered the question received a paper crown to wear. Once she joined me onstage, I recognized that one particular 6-year-old young lady was the “Dancing Queen”. I asked her to teach me how to dance. When she readily agreed, the DJ played “Teach Me How to Dougie.” So… I tried it! Who knows if I did it well, but the audience loved it more than anything else!

All the kids who attended the Back to School Bash in Fordyce!

Girls waiting in line for an autograph!

During the week, the most overwhelming moment occurred as a mother asked for an autographed picture for her little girl. Once she told me the child’s name, I asked her how to spell it. The mom just smiled at me. I asked her again how to spell her daughter’s name. She then revealed, “I don’t spell.” Stunned, I simply wrote my name on a photo and smiled as I handed it to that sweet little girl. It was so humbling for me to realize that an illiterate mother doesn’t know how to spell her own child’s name. In that moment, I realized the purpose of my job. I realized the importance of a role model. I learned that I must take every opportunity to emphasize education, second chances, and reaching one’s personal potential. I hope I never forget this lesson.

I feel energized and ready for the week ahead of me! On Tuesday, I fly to Orlando for the Miss America Outstanding Teen pageant. Ashton Campbell will be representing Arkansas and would be most grateful for all of our prayers. She is a beautiful and talented young woman… a true inspiration. While in Orlando, I will also meet the other 52 contestants vying for the title of Miss America! Miss Missouri will be my roommate for the week, and we will be attending banquets, dinners, video shoots, and the pageant with all of the Miss America contestants. On Thursday at 7:30 am, I will be filming a promotional video of “Why I could be the next Miss America.” Stay tuned for the YouTube link!

Pageant, Sponsors, Homecoming... whew! Week 3

I have fully enjoyed the past week! It was such a privilege to meet with several Miss Arkansas sponsors and to work out with Anne Marie multiple times! I also drove to Russellville, where I met Dr. Cooper and talked about improving my smile. I was so impressed with the professional staff, beautiful office, and his generosity in serving the Miss Arkansas Pageant with his talent!

Amanda Farmer at Bella’s Clothing & Gifts in Springdale sent an incredible box of clothing, stationery, and jewelry that I will be able to use throughout the year! I enjoyed visiting Stephanie Isaacs at her dress store, A Formal Affair in Batesville. Stephanie is so much fun to work with and has a great variety of dresses. At the Miss White River Pageant, I wore a white cocktail dress and a black evening gown that were provided by A Formal Affair.

Little Miss Batesville, Ryann, and me!

2012 Miss White River, Helen Wisner!

2012 Miss White River's Outstanding Teen, me, 2011 Miss White River, and 2011 Miss Arkansas' Outstanding Teen!

Congratulations to Miss White River, Helen Wisner, for winning interview, swimsuit, and the crown! It was really a joy to participate in this pageant! The contestants were such wonderful competitors! Also, congratulations to Norma Lopez, 2012 Miss Batesville! I hope to meet you soon!

Testing my new portable tap floor! I just love it!

I received a portable tap floor in the mail! Mrs. Micki, my dance teacher, found this product after researching online. It will be great to use when I am asked to perform at locations without a dance floor. I have already learned an a cappella routine on this tap floor and am ready to entertain!

The week was eventful in another way! My best friend and college roommate got married on Saturday afternoon! I was so thankful to be there for her special day.

On Sunday, the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce and many volunteers hosted the Miss Arkansas Homecoming, “A Celebration Fit for a Queen.” The event took place in the brand new Grand Prairie Center, and we had a great turnout! I was honored to have Bethany Bell, Somer Allen, and Bethany Whitfield perform during the ceremony. I admire these girls for their character and wanted to showcase some of the amazing talent of the contestants in the Miss Arkansas system! I treasure the gift of your talents and time, as well as your kind words. Thank you, friends!

Rick Pruitt, Miss Arkansas board member, and Amy Witherow, Miss Ouachita Baptist University Pageant director, also shared remarks. Mr. David Leech welcomed the crowd, and Ryann Collins opened with prayer. Stephen Bell and Jennifer Payton designated me a Goodwill Ambassador of Stuttgart and declared August 7 as Kristen Glover Day in Stuttgart! How cool! Then, my very own Paw Paw, Senator Bobby Glover, read letters from Senator Eddie Jo Williams and Governor Mike Beebe. The program continued with a speech from my mentor, Micki Konecny, followed by my performing a tap dance to “I Got Rhythm”, my talent competition piece for Miss Arkansas. To conclude, a slideshow of both old and recent dance and pageant pictures was shown. I am so grateful to everyone who participated in the program!

Receiving the proclamation declaring August 7 as Kristen Glover day in Stuttgart! I was so surprised!

Me and the girls posing for the camera at the reception after the homecoming program!

Miss Lily told me "I am pretty sure that you are going to win Miss America." haha... it was my favorite compliment all night!
Stephen and Bethany put so much work into making the homecoming party a success! Thank you!

Guess who!? Micki Petrus Konecny, Miss Arkansas 1981

The truly incredible day wouldn’t have been possible without the help of volunteers and family. Thank you to Mrs. Micki Konecny for the organization and excitement that you brought to the celebration! Kelsi, Charlsi, and Samantha also deserve a thank you since Mrs. Micki put you to work! Thank you to Stephen Bell and Bethany Hodges for your work at the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce! Mrs. LoraNelle Humphrey always does an incredible job decorating the reception and covering all of the details. Mr. Carl, thank you for your service as my “personal photographer.” Haha! JC Productions provided the videos from the week of Miss Arkansas. Stuttgart Flowers & Gift Shop and Fern and Feather donated the beautiful flowers. Thank you to Connie Allmond, Betty Curtis, Tracy Keller, Angelia Reinhart, Catherine Bednar, Dolora Howell, and my family for making this day possible!

I’m excited about appearances scheduled this week in DeWitt, Fordyce, and Little Rock! Throughout the week, I will continue working with my trainer and meeting with dress sponsors to make more decisions about the wardrobe for Miss America. Also, this week I am really anticipating the contestants’ online lottery, which will determine my competition group and placement in the Miss America Pageant! Next week, I’m thrilled to be traveling to Orlando, where I will meet the other Miss America contestants and cheer for Ashton Campbell as she represents Arkansas in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant. Woohoo!