This week has been challenging, yet rewarding. The reality of finding time to prepare for Miss America while keeping up with Miss Arkansas responsibilities is quite difficult. In my free time, I finished my dance for Miss America and prepared for my first mock interview. The mock interview was very difficult, but I received great advice and encouragement from the panelists!
Monday, I traveled to Jonesboro for the fitting of a new dance costume! The Royal We and Clark’s Bridal have provided so much for me this year! As Shelley Kelley finished with alterations, I spent a couple of hours at the coffee shop studying for my mock interview. I will wear this costume when I debut my Miss America dance, but it will not be the costume I take to Miss America.
Mom and I drove to Clarendon on Tuesday to meet Baxter Sharp, who invited me to speak in the Clarendon and Brinkley schools. One of my former dance students, Mikayla, welcomed me to Clarendon and showed me around the school! Then, Mikayla introduced me to the entire Clarendon student body before I spoke to the K-12th grade students. It was a challenge to speak to a wide range of students, but they were so involved and well-behaved!
As the keynote speaker, I gladly attended the Producer’s Rice Mill Annual Meeting in Stuttgart on Thursday. My dad has worked in the rice industry for years, and I was honored to speak at an event so important to him. In fact, my dad got a little choked up when introducing me. I am very thankful for my dad! I talked about the excellence of the rice industry and then shared details about my platform, “Second Chances through Mentoring.”
I ended my speech by encouraging Stuttgart citizens to attend the second annual chili lunch fundraiser benefiting the New Beginnings Scholarship. Last year, two $750 scholarships were given to first-generation college students. We will provide a free lunch and collect donations to directly benefit the scholarship fund. Chili and rice will be served from 11:30-1:30 on Sunday, November 30, at the First Baptist Church Activity Center. I hope to see you there as we provide more opportunities for students of my generation!
We then walked to the stadium and viewed the game from the Chancellor’s box… it was so nice! The Razorbacks played well against the Tennessee Volunteers with a couple of “Plays of the Week”! At halftime we visited Rick Pruitt, friend of the Miss Arkansas Organization. He said, “Oh… so you are in the Chancellor’s box with the Waltons?!” I started laughing because we didn’t even realize that we were sharing a box with the Waltons, heirs of Walmart’s Sam Walton. I responded, “I heard Kenny Chesney was at the game tonight, and I was so busy looking for him that I missed the Waltons!” I didn’t see Kenny Chesney, either.
I have been anticipating the upcoming week for quite some time! I have several extraordinary speaking opportunities and a “Tea Party with Miss Arkansas!” I will attend a Razorback basketball game and cheer on the Hogs, again! To conclude an amazing week, I will debut my Miss America dance on Saturday at Queen Mallard! My hometown pageant, which kicks off the week-long Wings Over the Prairie Festival, will be held at the brand new Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart. On Sunday, November 20, from 11:30 – 1:00, we are hosting the second annual chili lunch fundraiser at the First Baptist Activity Center to benefit the New Beginnings Scholarship! Hope you can make it!