I’ve written quite a bit lately about young women inspired by strong, beautiful, talented women who came before them. Over and over again, I’ve heard of these teenagers and college students volunteering, working hard to better themselves, trying to make a difference for others, all because of someone who they saw doing the same thing when they were a little girl. How often did these girls watch acts of kindness or moments of greatness and think ‘I want to be just like her when I grow up!’
Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is the power of the Miss America Organization.
It’s an endless cycle of GOOD that I’ll share proof of yet again through the story of Cherokee Purviance, an outstanding young woman representing a place she calls ‘the best hometown in America’: Alliance, Nebraska.
Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography
“I chose to compete because when I was a little girl, I looked up to Megan Dimmitt, a Miss Nebraska contestant many times in the past, and also my first ever piano teacher,” Cherokee recently told me. “Role models like Megan drove me to compete and start teaching piano students of my own.”
With her role model’s complete support, Cherokee pursued Miss America’s partner program, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, in 2015. Using the skills Megan taught her, she took the same stage her mentor had for so many years, and competed for one of our state’s top honors.
Photo courtesy Kamie Stephen for the North Platte Telegraph
Cherokee didn’t take the title, but she went home to Alliance with even more zest for the program she’d heard about for so many years, and everything each titleholder is entrusted to carry out.
“I wrote an essay last year about breaking pageant stereotypes,” said Cherokee. “One thing that I wrote in that paper was that people who say that pageants are all about the beauty, clearly have never experienced the MAO Teen organization. This organization has taught me to grow in my passion for my platform.”
Yes, despite an extensive piano background and a self-described knack for music, art and history, this program fueled Cherokee’s desire to serve and help others. When she was crowned Miss Alliance’s Outstanding Teen 2016, Cherokee was determined to increase her efforts to spread awareness of dyslexia
“I chose this as my platform because it is something I struggle with everyday that doesn’t get enough attention from parents and teachers,” said Cherokee. “I have strengths other students don’t because I am dyslexic. I am more artistic and musically inclined than students without dyslexia. Dyslexia is my greatest struggle and my greatest strength. I am passionate about teaching this to other teens, possibly preventing drastic measures such as suicide due to thinking they are not smart or are ‘stupid’.”
Cherokee has also volunteered to help children in need shop for Christmas paresents, she’s taken part in local Girl Scout events, and helped with community activities across Alliance. She is wrapping up her sophomore year at Alliance High School, where she’s in show choir and the school musical and she accompanies her choir on piano. In addition, Cherokee plays tennis, dances and paints (her work was recently recognized by Nebraska 4H!)
At all of these events.. someone small is watching Cherokee. In Alliance and perhaps elsewhere, there are undoubtedly little girls looking up to her, just as she looked up to Megan years ago. And just as her mentor stood under the bright lights at Miss Nebraska stage and inspired someone else.. Cherokee hopes to now hear those same words, ‘when I grow up’.. as Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
Photo courtesy Just Shoot Me Photographics
“I would be a great role model for children and teens of all ages,” said Cherokee. I would be able to spread word of my platform to parents, teachers and [those] close to my heart, teens and children whose self esteem has been brought down because they no longer think they’re smart. I would be give me the chance to promote my platform on a wider spectrum and to be an advocate for those suffering children and teens.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CHEROKEE?
2015 * Girls And Dolls
For more information about the Miss Alliance’s OT/Miss Harvest Moon Festival’s OT/Miss Panhandle’s Outstanding Teen pageant, CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page. For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Melinda Cullan by phone at 308-710-5593, 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!