Inspiration. Week 8.

What a busy, phenomenal week! During this week, I visited 11 cities and spoke to over 1,200 students in school assemblies! I met so many people this week who clearly have a heart to serve others. That is why I love Arkansas!

On Tuesday, I rode in the Saline County Fair Parade and signed autographs at the fairgrounds. The weather was beautiful, and we had a great turnout in Benton! I was surprised and thrilled to see Mr. Stephen Strauss at the parade. He is a long term supporter of the Miss Arkansas Pageant and has been my friend since I held the Miss South Central title in 2008. Mr. Stephen, thank you for your photos and friendship!

Also at the parade, a gentleman introduced himself to me and said, “Oh… so you’re the one with the bad parking job!” Haha! I learned my lesson. When I drive a car that says, “Miss Arkansas,” and walk around with a crown, I must park neatly within the parking space.

My driver for the Saline County Fair Parade.

Posing with a queen before the parade!

On Wednesday, I spent several hours at the Arkansas Rice Depot packing boxes and stocking pantries. The Arkansas Rice Depot distributes over 8 million pounds of food each year, feeding as much as 14% of the state's population! Since it was my first visit to the facility, I was so impressed with the organized warehouse and dedicated staff! I also got a sweet compliment from a regular volunteer, “You’re prettier than a speckled pup.”

Thursday was an exhausting and rewarding day! I spoke to more than 1,200 students in four school assemblies in Hazen and Newport. While speaking to younger students, I try my best to constantly interact with the audience. They really understood my message of “How full is your bucket?” and making good choices! With the older kids, it never ceases to amaze me how much they LOVE music! So it is easy to catch their attention with a “Name That Tune” game and then talk about some poor role models we have in society. That gives me the chance to talk about mentors and my platform of “Second Chances through Mentoring.” I received several compliments from students and teachers on my program. I can’t wait for another opportunity to jump into the schools!

Thank you Hazen for the t-shirt!

Students at Newport Elementary School!

Friday, I traveled to De Queen for the first time! Mom and I had so much fun at the District 7 nursing home pageant, where we met lots of great people! The pageant contestants were in high spirits and so funny! I brought my portable tap floor and performed my a capella dance, and Ms. Sarah clapped during the entire performance! Ms. Sarah was second runner-up in the pageant and always talked about how blessed and how loved that she was! One contestant was 100 years old and weighed 100 lbs! I took a photo with one lady who instead of saying, “Cheese!” said, “Eat your heart out!” Haha! It was a very special day!

The queen and her court!

Saturday was another exciting day! We started in Benton at Mt. Carmel Retirement Center for their 3rd anniversary. The facility was beautiful, and the staff was so caring! I had lots of fun entertaining on my portable tap floor and talking with the audience. They wanted to know all about my job, my hometown, and my Miss America adventure. We had a great time!

Resident at Mt. Carmel Retirement Center

We then went to Arkadelphia so I could emcee a style show that benefitted the Arkadelphia Health Club. The ladies poured so much work into the event, and I was honored to be a part of it!

Kids in the style show!

Mrs. Loretta has booked me for two events already! Thank you for supporting the Miss Arkansas Organization!

Mom and I sat with Ms. Emily Tally from Arkadelphia during lunch. Ms. Emily was such an inspiration! She was dressed beautifully in ruby jewelry and totally surprised us when she said she was 86 years old. The more we talked with Ms. Emily, we found out that she is very active in her community, cans her own vegetables from her garden, and serves as a foster grandparent. Every Monday-Friday, Ms. Emily volunteers to rock and feed babies at a public daycare from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. She had a vivacious personality and was a true inspiration! When we left, Mom said, “I want to be like Ms. Emily when I get older!” God has given me this job opportunity to meet special people like Ms. Emily. For that, I am very, very grateful!

I didn’t have the chance to attend Miss Little Rock on Saturday afternoon, but I know that it was an outstanding pageant! Congratulations to Bethany Whitfield for being crowned Miss Little Rock and serving as a wonderful role model for all of us! I was able to attend Miss Metro and had SO much fun! Justin, Kirt, and Amy did a fabulous job of putting together this pageant, and there were so many beautiful, talented contestants! Congratulations to Miss Metro Candace Carr … I am so glad that you are returning to the Miss Arkansas stage!

Rachel Harless (Miss Metro's Outstanding Teen), Bailey Moses (Miss Little Rock's Outstanding Teen), Candace Carr (Miss Metro's Outstanding Teen), and me!

This upcoming week will be great! Back to the gym with Ann Marie and back to the dance studio with Mrs. Micki! On Saturday, I will be attending the Miss Jonesboro pageant and will debut a new performance number! I am really excited about it! I also get to represent Coleman Dairy at the Arkansas Hospitality Association banquet. Mr. Buddy Coleman is a long time supporter of the Miss Arkansas Pageant and an admirable man! With a few other appearances to come this week, I look forward to another week as Miss Arkansas.

On my Facebook page, I have posted Miss Arkansas Pageant pictures by Mr. Danny Barger with You’ve Got the Look Photography. Expect an upcoming blog entitled, “Reflections on the 2011 Miss Arkansas Pageant.”


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