This week started out great with a visit to my alma mater, Ouachita Baptist University! I didn’t really announce that I was visiting campus, so when students saw my car on campus they tweeted me all day long! It was so much fun! I visited a few professors, staff members, students, and a dear friend, Mrs. Sarah Teed. Dr. Ozmun helped me digitize a home video for Miss America, and Jessica Fleeman Barksdale gave me a photo shoot. She is an incredible photographer, and I can’t wait to show you her work!
I started putting together a promotional video that explains the role of Miss Arkansas. I have really enjoyed creating this video and plan to put it on the Miss Arkansas website (www.missarkansas.org). Click here for the video, and let me know what you think!
Speaking of the website, please check out the updated news concerning the Miss America pageant (www.missarkansas.org/news). You will want to purchase the tickets and hotel rooms as soon as possible. I also encourage you to purchase a badge ($35) the week of Miss America. This badge will give you access to all four nights of visitation after the preliminaries, which will be the only time I will be able to visit with friends, and access to the Miss America trade show. Deadline to order these badges will be September 30, 2011.Last Wednesday, I had a wonderful time with the 6-8th grade students at the Boys and Girls Club in Bryant, Arkansas. On average, 500 students attend this club on a daily basis. They have a brand new facility and a staff dedicated to the children. We played “Name That Tune,” and the students knew a lot of the music. Then, we discussed the mistakes the artists of those songs had made. The students were very receptive to learning how they can find a mentor for advice and encouragement throughout the difficult times in life. When signing autographs at the Boys and Girls Club, I signed a special picture for obvious class clown. “Dream Big, Handsome!” He misinterpreted the message and I heard him bragging about how I called him “Big Handsome.” Haha! Of course he was absolutely right about his assumed title!
I met a younger boy at the Boys and Girls Club who immediately asked, “Do you know Ashlen Batson?” I smiled and said, “Yes, Ashlen is a former Miss Arkansas.” He spent the next 5 minutes talking about Ashlen. I sent her a message saying that she had obviously impacted this boy. She responded, “When I came to work at ACH he was extra excited that I was a former Miss Arkansas. He's touched my life, and reminded me that I have had two of the best jobs in the world.” Then she gave me some valuable encouragement, “I hope you are soaking in every moment, and I pray that you are having an incredible year.” Thank you, Ashlen!
On Thursday, I practiced my tap dances with Mrs. Micki. Next on my agenda was a drive to Jonesboro to see Shelley Kelley at Clark’s Bridal. Shelley is a phenomenal seamstress and a very generous Miss Arkansas sponsor. She has provided several dance costumes that I will be using this year. I always enjoy meeting with Shelley!
This upcoming week will be extremely busy … bring it on! I will appear at two elementary schools, where I will speak about making good choices. It will be fun to be a guest at two nursing home pageants! I will celebrate Rice Month with the Arkansas Rice Depot and attend a style show fundraiser in Arkadelphia. I am very excited about Miss Little Rock and Miss Metro, two preliminary pageants, which will be held in Little Rock on Saturday! Justin Harper, Kirt Thomas, and Amy Witherow direct these pageants, as well as my local pageant, Miss Ouachita Baptist University. I think highly of these directors and appreciate the enthusiasm they bring to the system!