Confession: I ADORE KIDS. Especially my own, but really, all babies and toddlers. They are so innocent, sweet, cuddly, all of the above! When I see a child doing something uber-impressive, like singing or dancing, I simply MELT from cuteness overload!
Case in point.. my friends Amanda and Bill’s little girl, JoJo. At just 3 years old, this sweet thing is an AMAZING singer!! She’s got an innate gift for remember lyrics and melodies, and was simply BORN to be a star! When she sings her first national anthem at an Omaha Storm Chasers game, I will be the FIRST in line to buy my ticket!
Some kids just HAVE it, they have a special gift in their heart to perform. At just 11 years old, Carsyn Long was selected to sing for Nebraska’s Miss America, Teresa Scanlan.
Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography
“Funny story: I went to use the restroom and of course, in walks Miss America herself!” Carsyn told me recently. “As soon as she walked in, I was completely starstruck! She ended up talking to me and touching me on the shoulder, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I ran out of the bathroom crying!”
A fitting encounter.. Teresa, the youngest Miss Nebraska ever crowned and the youngest Miss America since 1937, inspiring a girl who would become ‘the youngest’ in many of her future endeavours.
“At that time and still to this day, Teresa represented everything I wanted to be as a woman,” said Carsyn. “Not only did Teresa exemplify the four points of the crown wonderfully (as I hope to do), but she sparked a fire in an 11-year old girl that has gotten me involved with this organization and has made me the young woman I am today.”
THIS organization.. is the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant.
Carsyn was crowned Miss Scotts Bluff County’s Outstanding Teen 2016 last summer, right before she started her sophomore year at Gering High School.
“I love anything and everything that has to do with performing,” said Carsyn. “Put me on a stage, and I’m at home.”
Photo courtesy Shayla’s Photography
At Gering High, Carsyn is involved with her school’s theater department, harmony show choir and speech team. This year, she became the youngest person on the speech team to medal at state, winning Nebraska’s Class B title for Oral Interpretation of Drama.
Carsyn’s fellow state champion and dear friend is also the woman who encouraged her to compete for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen, Allison Baird, who became Miss Scotts Bluff County the same night Carsyn was crowned.
“My role model without a doubt is my older sister queen (and your future Miss Nebraska!) Allison Baird,” said Carsyn. “This girl is absolutely incredible. She is such a Godly girl and offers her whole heart to anything she does. I truly admire her wisdom, drive and her belief in others. Allie is part of the reason I ever competed in my first pageant in August!”
As Allison set out to spread awareness of her platform, (Click here to learn more!), Carsyn also prepared a personal message and campaign to share with others.
“My platform is called the ‘Heart of Art: Keeping Fine Arts In Schools’,” said Carsyn. “Performing is something I’m really passionate about and so I wanted to incorporate that into my platform. Through my platform I’m creating awareness, working towards improving funding, and offering more opportunities for kids like myself who have found their niche in performing. Even in my school, our fine arts program could use some improving, so that really motivated me as well to make a change.”
Carsyn has attended community events, spoken at schools, and volunteered through her area (in the picture above right, delivering flowers to brand new moms in the hospital on Mother’s Day!)
“The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Organization has really been a strong outlet for me to reach several different audiences while promoting my platform and volunteering,” said Carsyn. “I hae been able to offer my talents and time as well. I’ve really been opened up to so many new opportunities and have made some amazing friends along the way. Through this organization, I’ve been able to improve my poise and social skills. I’ve truly been able to carry out the concept that it isn’t the crown that makes you a queen, but it’s what you possess in your heart.”
Carsyn Long has a heart for art.. a passion for singing and speaking, and a drive to pursue her goals and dreams until they are reality. Those are big goals for a young lady who just turned 16.. but remember, some kids just HAVE IT.
“I want to have the kind of impact that Teresa had on me to young girls,” said Carsyn. “As Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen, I would be able to promote my platform, the Heart Of Art, but I would also be able to leave the legacy and impact I have always strived for in this program and to people everywhere.”
Photo courtesy SunnyFreckles Photography
For more information about the Miss Scotts Bluff County Pageant, CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page and HERE on their website. For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Cheryl Engelhaupt by phone at 308-783-2940 or at 308-635-8615.
For more information on becoming a Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestant, contact Director Heather Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director Kali Tripp at email@example.com.
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!