To the world, you may be one person; but to one person, you may be the world.
SISTER. To all of you who have one, I am envious; what a special bond, to have someone you can always talk to, always relate to, tease and then hug, laugh but still fight, a person that you will be bonded to for life for better or for worse. That’s pretty darn awesome!
Big sisters have a huge responsibility. Your little sister is your ‘big brother’, watching every move you make, wanting to emulate everything you do, and if you’re lucky, becoming a mirror of all of your best attributes. Emma Wilkinson is EXTREMELY lucky; she has had several women in her life playing the role of ‘big sister’, and all have had an enormous impact on the young woman she is becoming.
Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography
The title of ‘little sister’ has been a formative factor in Emma’s life since she was a young girl growing up in North Platte, the home of the Miss Nebraska pageant.
“I was involved in the Little Sisters Program and I’ve dreamt of being Miss Nebraska ever since,” Emma told me recently. “My Big Sister was Miss Nebraska 2009 Brittany Jeffers! I was so lucky to be her Little Sister the year she won! As I watched my Big Sister dance her heart out on the Miss Nebraska stage, I realized I wanted to be a dancer!”
Emma started dance lessons at the Dance Factory in North Platte, under the direction of Miss Nebraska 1999 Becky Smith-Wagner.
“Today, I’m at the highest level in my studio. I take ballet, jazz and lyrical,” said Emma. “My dance teacher, Becky Wagner, has had such an amazing influence on my life. She has been such an amazing role model for not only for me, but for all of the girls who attend classes at The Dance Factory.”
Every class, and every life lesson Emma learned from these women helped fuel that initial dream to compete for one of our state’s longest standing honors. This year, Emma couldn’t wait any longer.. and since she isn’t yet old enough to compete for Miss Nebraska, she signed up to compete for the organization’s ‘little sister’ program, Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
In her first pageant, Emma was crowned Miss Chadron’s Outstanding Teen 2016, giving her the same performance and leadership opportunities both Brittany and Becky pursued years ago.
“Although I love to dance, singing is my passion,” said Emma. “Ever since I received the lead of Little Red Riding Hood in a musical here at North Platte Community Playhouse, I have been lost in musical theatre and the art of performing. I went to Texas Arts Project in Austin to gain more passion for singing, dancing and acting.”
Emma, a junior at North Platte High School, is also Vice President of the Nebraska Association of Student Councils (NASC; Emma served as district president last year), a cheerleader, and involved with Key Club and Honor Society. In addition, every summer she attends Launch, a statewide leadership program. That organization and Emma’s involvement inspired her personal platform of service as Miss Chadron’s Outstanding Teen, ‘Breaking Down Barriers: Education To End Stereotyping.’
“I have watched stereotypes drive kids away from exploration of themselves and the communities they inhabit, and instead into molds that high school has predetermined for them,” said Emma. “It is not impossible to defeat stereotyping. Simply getting to know each other weakens the barriers. Making real connections with a classmate is stronger than any stereotype.”
Emma has also been busy making those connections herself, with her Class of 2016 Outstanding Teen sisters.
Together, these girls have been making appearances across the state, trying to have a positive impact on their communities, in addition to the responsibilities and commitments they have made as high school students.
“I am passionate about catalyzing positive change in my school, in my community, and in Nebraska,” said Emma.
Emma credits that drive and desire to form relationship to the sister and bond that stand out from all the rest.
“My biggest role model is my sister, Lily,” said Emma. “When she was in high school, she was NASC’s state president, and she currently attends Harvard College in Boston. She truly can do anything she sets her mind to and continues to make me extremely proud.”
A beautiful sentiment from a little sister.. who will now become the big sister she’s always admired. The above photo was taken this spring, when Emma was cast as Belle in North Platte High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast.
“That experience was something I will never forget,” said Emma. “After every show, I loved walking out to greet people who came to watch me. I will never, ever forget the look on the little girls’ faces when they saw Belle standing right in front of them. Little did they know, I felt just as honored as they did.”
Perhaps, a preview to this year’s Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, when it will be Emma on stage, looked at and fawned over by countless little girls, dreaming of someday wearing that same crown.
For information on becoming a contestant, CLICK HERE to visit the Miss Chadron/Northwest/Fur Trade Days Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook. You can also contact Director Amanda Vogel by phone at 308-665-5595 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on becoming a Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestant, contact Director Heather Edwards at email@example.com or Director Kali Tripp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2015 & 2014, click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!