Do you think one of us girls will ever be Miss Arkansas?! Week 33!

If you were awake early on Tuesday morning and watching an Arkansas news station, then you probably saw me on air!  I arrived at the IHOP restaurant on Chenal Parkway at 5:30 a.m. to celebrate National Pancake Day and was surprised to see Channels 4, 7, and 11 at the restaurant!  Alyse Eady, Miss Arkansas 2010 and THV’s morning co-host, was my first interviewer.  I then interviewed with Wendy Suares on Channel 4 and Alyson Courtney on Channel 7.  It was a big morning, and I was honored to be a part of it!  On National Pancake Day, IHOP gives a free short stack to every customer while encouraging a donation to Children’s Miracle Network.  Since the Miss America Organization has adopted Children’s Miracle Network as the national platform, crowns all over America showed up at IHOP!  I was pleased to see many Miss Arkansas contestants visit restaurants around Arkansas while all of my Miss America sisters were tweeting about their pancake experiences! 

Alyse Eady and me! 
Emma Grace represents Arkansas Children's Hospital with the biggest smile!

On Wednesday, I released the online application for the New Beginnings Scholarship.  I started this scholarship last year by raising funds to award scholarships to first generation college students graduating from my alma mater, Stuttgart High School.  This scholarship gives new opportunities to students whose parents did not receive a college degree.  As Miss Arkansas, I advocate for my generation and always promote scholarship.  The New Beginnings Scholarship is one more way to accomplish my Miss Arkansas mission!

Scheduled to speak to the youth group at Union Valley Baptist Church in Beebe, I arrived to find the plan had changed.   I instead spoke to children, youth, and adults in the sanctuary.  The kids were restless, and I never seemed to take control of the audience.  Sometimes a public speaker doubts if the message was effective, and I definitely doubted myself after speaking on Wednesday night. 

When the kids were invited to ask questions after my message, I distinctly remember two questions.  One wide-eyed little girl posed, “Do you think one of us girls will ever be Miss Arkansas?!”  My heart melted.  The other question was much more difficult.  A young boy had been listening intently to my platform speech, even the part when I talked about mentoring pregnant teenagers.  He questioned, “How does a 13-year old get pregnant?  I don’t understand.”  The room burst with laughter, and the boy’s face turned red as a tomato.  I quieted the room and turned to the boy to say, “That is not a silly question!  I encourage you to talk to your parents about the details.  However, I would like to say that teenagers often make mistakes if they don’t know any better.  If teenagers do not have positive role models in their lives, we shouldn’t be surprised by their bad decisions.”  After finishing this appearance, I wasn’t quite sure it was my best performance. 

 The sweet girl on the right asked me the question about becoming Miss Arkansas!

Thursday, I drove to Lonoke to speak at the Lonoke Chamber of Commerce.  It was a beautiful day, and I was tickled to meet my PawPaw for the appearance!  We had delicious BBQ, and I shared Miss America and platform stories with the crowd!  I had a great time!

Me and PawPaw!

Once I made it back to Little Rock, I met Justin James for a photo shoot in Little Rock!  We took several photos in downtown Little Rock, and I can’t wait to show you his work! 

Friday, my parents picked me up in Little Rock on the way to Northwest Arkansas for the weekend.  We received a phone call while in the car from a good friend, Betty Curtis.  She had been listening to 94.1 radio station when the DJ started talking about how Miss Arkansas spoke at his church in Beebe.   He was very complimentary, especially on the way that I answered difficult questions from the kids.  He may never know how much his words encouraged me! 

Friday night, Dad and I attended a Father/Daughter Date Night at Cross Church in Springdale.   The theme for the evening was “Academy Awards” and we entered the facility on a red carpet!  Escorted by their dads, the girls arrived with rhinestones and big smiles.  My dad first spoke to the audience and did an outstanding job!  He encouraged the dads to take active roles of spiritual leadership and building self-confidence in their daughters.  Sharing lots of stories from my childhood, I encouraged the little girls to respect and listen to their dads.  Dad and I fully enjoyed this appearance!  We work well as a team!

Dad and I before the Father/Daughter Date Night!
All the girls were waiting for me to call their name to win a door prize!  

Saturday, we started the day at a couple of museums in Bentonville.  We first toured the Wal-Mart Visitor Center at the old Walton’s 5-10 store.  Then, we viewed the state-of-the-art Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, featuring walls and walls of historical art!  Arkansas is blessed to have a museum with millions of dollars of prestigious American art within our own back yard!  I encourage everyone to visit Crystal Bridges, and thanks to Wal-Mart … admission is free!

Saturday night, we crowned three new queens!  Congratulations to Sarah Liz Carter who was crowned Miss Magnolia!  Simone Mullinax will be returning to the Miss Arkansas stage as Miss Frisco Springs along with her sister queen, Miss Lakes of the Northwest Rebecca Wheeley.  I enjoyed watching Simone and Rebecca compete and was tickled to see the two redheads in purple dresses take home the crowns! 

 The Miss Lakes of the NW/Frisco Springs Pageant family plus me!  Congrats girls!
 Simone Mullinax, Miss Frisco Springs!
Rebecca Wheeley, Miss Lakes of the Northwest!  

As I wrap up this blog post, I would like to share an observation.  Character is the most attractive quality.  Judges are captivated by young women who display strong character and a goal-directed life perspective, which are qualities conveyed through the way you answer questions. Judges want to see girls who are strong with and without the crown…. you don’t want to be desperate for the crown but instead prove that you have other life goals and plan to make a difference in this world however you can.  In addition, developing strong character will promote excellence beyond pageants.  Successful women exhibit professionalism, leadership, passion, sincerity, and innovation with and without a crown. 


Sweety Darlin said...
March 6, 2012 at 1:24 PM

What a fantastic closing paragraph my dear! I will be forwarding a lot of girls to this post on Wednesday when we start rehearsals for Saturday! They need to remember this critical information!

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