Monday, October 1, 2012

Miss America’s Outstanding Teen was the best experience ever. I grew so much and made 52 new best friends.  I was truly blessed to be given the opportunity to go to MAOT because it changed my life! Here’s a quick recap of the week:

Rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. We would wake up at 6 a.m., have breakfast at 7:00, rehearse from 8:00-12:00, have lunch, and then more rehearsal from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  We were then given 10-20 minutes to get changed and ready for dinner and an appearance.

Rehearsals were intense – we practiced the fitness production number, and then switched over to the evening gown parade and then finally practiced the 15 minute opening number. The best part was seeing all the contestants in sweat pants and T-shirts, wearing socks and heels. We soon figured out that wearing socks with shoes would save our feet from getting blisters.

Things got really crazy on competition days. We would have early morning rehearsals, lunch, and then more rehearsal at the theater until dinner. We would be given about an hour and 15 minutes to get ready for the show. Talk about craziness -- I have never seen so many girls rushing to get ready in record time!!   It was amazing to see how helpful everyone was. I would roll my hair, and then put on my makeup.  One of the contestants would come over and help me take the rollers out and even begin to tease my hair while I was finishing my makeup. Everyone was so helpful just as if we were one big family.

Each night after competition I was able to visit with my family, Miss Florida Pageant Board Members, Laura, and my friends at an organized Visitation.   The contestants would then walk back to the hotel and have a meeting to discuss the plans for the next day.   It was truly nonstop and there was hardly any time to think, but along the way, you were able to meet the most amazing people. My roommate who was Miss Hawaii became like a sister to me.  She made me laugh so hard that I cried and would always give me a hug when I would start missing my family. I couldn't have asked for a better roommate and I am already planning my trip to go to Hawaii and visit her!

I’m not sure if you know but during one of the competitions I pulled my hamstring preventing me from physically performing to my best capabilities. Unfortunately that was the hardest part but I know God has a plan for me and that plan was to keep me in Florida. I was given an experience that I learned so much from and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Lewis, one of the Miss America security guards, told us one night in our meeting that God may have brought you here just to make that one little girl in the elevator smile when you signed an autograph for her - a memory she may keep forever - or He may have brought you here to win. This is now the new motto for my year. I do not know why I was blessed with this title but it was for a reason and a purpose that I am dedicated to fulfill! This is something that means so much to me and I just want to impact as many people as I can.  I have that opportunity also through CMNH.

I recently went to a Radiothon at Shands Hospital at UF to raise money for CMNH.  We achieved our goal of $100,000 and actually exceeded it. This experience was so humbling.  I met children who fight for their lives every day! It touched me the most when I spoke to a boy named James who had been in a car accident with his Mom. We talked about high school and football and then he proceeded to tell me about the accident. It broke my heart when he told me that he was glad that the truck hit the car on his side because he wouldn't want his Mom to suffer and go through the pain he was going through.

The Blue & Orange Fashion Show was so much fun. I wore yoga pants and a blue shirt that said Gator and I actually held a baby alligator. I loved meeting the UF dazzlers and spending time with Miss Gainesville and Miss Lake City.  It was great to see them since the last time I saw them was at the Miss Florida Pageant.

As I write this, I am smiling while thinking about my experiences. MAOT was the best week of summer and I would do it over again in a heartbeat!  I am grateful to everyone that came to support me during the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant and to those that sent me cards and words of encouragement. I hope that our paths cross during this year!

"Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter thank you think." 

At Medieval Times we were introduced and paraded around with our state flags before the show. 

 Teresa Scanlan Miss America 2011

Joey Page sang for us at the MAOT Gala!

The amazing Elizabeth Fechtel Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2012

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