This week, I celebrated my 36th birthday the best way possible… with Influenza A. I’ve written about this before, this has NOT been my season of health. In baseball terms, I’m trying to hit for the cycle of ailments, I suppose.
Sunday, I texted my friend Natalie for her over-the-phone diagnosis.. poor girl is my only physician BFF, and therefore, I bother her on the weekend when I can’t reach a doctor. Thanks to her help and advice, I (hopefully) turned onto the road to recovery sooner than waiting a few extra days.
My friend Natalie may look familiar.. because she’s Dr. Natalie Stuntz, a highly respected and admired pediatrician on all of the CHI Health commercials in eastern Nebraska. She’s also a former Miss Omaha contestant and 2-time 1st runner up to Miss Nebraska USA. She’s a busy mother of two, wife, and yet she still she donates her time across Omaha and to communities around the world. She’s beautiful, brilliant, and kind.
Maybe it’s a doctor thing.. the same dedication, intelligence and drive required to get through medical school and residency is also exemplified in other facets of life. An Elkhorn teenager hoping to pursue medicine herself is already following in Dr. Stuntz’s footsteps in more ways than one.
Miss Elkhorn’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Emily Lenser
“I plan on attending UNL as a pre-med student, dancing on the Scarlet Dance Team and moving on to medical school,” Emily told me recently. “My dream is to be a pediatric surgeon.”
Big goals for a young woman who can’t yet drive a car. Emily credits her focus to her participation in pageants, including her preparation for this year’s Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Omaha.
“I love competing in pageants and have been doing so since first grade,” said Emily. “Sometimes even my friends had a negative view of pageants. I have really talked to them about pageants and all that is involved with pageantry. I focused on telling them about interview skills which will help me in my future, speaking in front of an audience, confidence and grace on stage, and the wonderful opportunities to serve my community.”
Emily has been a titleholder within the National American Miss system and continues to mentor younger participants. She’s a student at Elkhorn South High School, where she’s active with the Storm Dance Team. Emily also finds time to do what she loves most, to joke around and to’shop, shop, shop!’
“As a busy teen, it’s very important to stay organized with my schoolwork, activities, dance team and competitive dance,” said Emily. “[Being organized] is the only way I can do so much!”
Those are the kinds of things Emily is excited to share with not only a panel of judges, but to any group who will listen as she advocates for pageant girls everywhere.
“My platform is ‘Don’t Judge The Sparkle: Changing Pageant Perception’,” said Emily. “There are so many people who do not understand the world of pageantry. I am making this my mission and want to change the negative stereotypes that some people have of pageants. The general public does not understand all of the wonderful opportunities that take place through pageants. College scholarships, interview skills, public speaking skills, poise, grace, resume skills just to name a few.”
I’ve done the name dropping, giving you proof of the incredible women who’ve been part of the Miss Nebraska Organization. Brook Matthews-Hudson, co-founder and producer of Omaha Fashion Week. Brittany Jeffers, Emmy Award winning broadcast news journalist. Dr. Natalie Stuntz, role model for young women dreaming of being a doctor.. and Miss America.
“My goal/dream is to become as involved as I can in the state pageant,” said Emily. “Of course I want to win and along the way I hope to make new friends, promote the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Organization, serve my community and continue to do well academically. [There are] so many wonderful opportunities available to serve others. It really makes a person feel good. I hope to continue promoting serving others.”
The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place April 21-22 in Omaha, Nebraska.
To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2014-2016 click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!