I was that kid who walked home from school with her nose in a book. Well, as far as my nose could get with my big glasses. <blink, blink> I still remember trying to read my Babysitters Club books in my bed long after the lights had been turned off, and eventually my Mom walking past my room and saying ‘Brandi, book down! Sleep!’ I even started ‘testing’ myself to see how many pages I could read out loud without making a mistake.
I had friends as a child. I swear.
My Grandpa still loves to share the story of how, at 3 years old, I stood behind him while he read the paper, and I sounded out the words in the headline. A love of reading has simply been in my soul from a very early age..
..and still is.. at a much older age. When Westside’s Oakdale Elementary asked me to come in for Read Across America week, I eagerly accepted. This was the HIGHLIGHT of my Tuesday (my Fox in Socks game is ON POINT!) Anytime a school asks me to read, I try to make it happen. I just love seeing children excited to read or be read to, and I hope to foster that same passion for reading in other kids (especially my own!) So does an Omaha teenager, who likely draws a few more ‘wows’ and smiles than I do every time she walks into a classroom.
Miss Eastern Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Naomi Turner
“Most children and teens have simply forgotten what a great book does to your attitude and mind,” Naomi told me recently. “I wanted my platform to involve reading because I feel as if many do not fully understand the importance of reading in the world of technology we’re living in.”
Naomi does, because reading hasn’t always come easily for her. She grew up with dyslexia.
“Reading was always a challenge for me, no matter the book,” said Naomi. “Although I did not want to read much, with help from family and friends I grew a love for reading because when I read more, my dyslexia (I refer to it as ‘fighting words’) was not as prominent as before when I would read less. It might seem a bit odd for a dyslexic individual to say ‘read more!’ but reading really improves a person’s mindset, attitude and overall lifestyle.”
As she faced these challenges, Naomi also explored other ways to express herself through music and photography. She plays the cello, one of the reasons she was drawn to compete in the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen program.
“With various orchestra activities like All-City Orchestra, Pit Orchestra and my Honors Orchestra class at school, I work with a large group of individuals to help showcase all of our talents and how we can sound incredible when working together,” said Naomi. “In the talent competition, I am able to deviate from the usual and showcase my own talent without other helping me. I love playing in an orchestra, but playing solo is also a great challenge!”
And Naomi is used to being in the spotlight; she also models in the Omaha area for businesses including the Winning Crown Dress Boutique and Lady Beverly Cosmetics.
Naomi is also interested in what goes on behind the camera, taking part in broadcasting at Omaha Burke High School and learning all she can from local professionals.
“At Skills USA, I compete in short films challenges,” said Naomi, who is the President of her Chapter at Burke. “I’m also an active volunteer for the Omaha Film Festival each year and I attend their academy for teens that brings in professional actors and filmmakers to hold workshops. I have already taken college courses in film and plan to continue to pursue my passion for it.”
Naomi is ready for those job interviews and grant proposals, crediting public speaking skills to her time as a titleholder within the National American Miss Organization and as Miss Nebraska High School 2015.
“Preparing for and competing in pageants teaches important life skills!” said Naomi. “I feel interview prep especially has benefitted me. My parents always taught me to look adults in the eye and speak up. Pageants reinforce this with the interview portion of competition; it is a great chance to practice speaking to people you don’t know and being confident in yourself. I have paid close attention to what is going on in my community, state, and world to be prepared to speak about important issues. [These] are important for my future, wherever that may take me.”
Throughout the years, Naomi has also used her titles and exposure to take part in a variety of events advocating for numerous causes, often connecting her to other young women with the same goals and interests.
“I remember all of the friends I made while I competed, and I wanted to meet even more inspiring young women from around our state,” said Naomi.
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. – Dr. Seuss.
Miss Eastern Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Naomi Turner IS one of those inspiring young women. This self described vivacious leader has displayed ambition and drive from her own classrooms, to those of younger students all over the Omaha area. For her, reading is not simply a lesson in school; it’s a pathway that leads to countless experiences and opportunities throughout life. She hopes to continue sharing that message on a larger scale as Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
“Being a leader means looking out for others around you, not just yourself,” said Naomi. “With Read Across America, I hope to restore children and teens’ love for reading by reintroducing the concept of reading for fun back into their minds and lives. I also want to empower those who are struggling with dyslexia. I want to inspire as many kids and teens as possible to read more and help them to understand the many benefits they can gain from it!”
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!