Tag Archive | 4h

When I Grow Up

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.”


Click here to learn more about Megan Dimmitt, Miss High Plains 2014!

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.

just shoot me photographics

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.”



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 maot.alliance@gmail.com.

For more information on becoming a Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestant, contact Director Heather Edwards at heatheraloseke@gmail.com or Director Kali Tripp at kalinicoletv@gmail.com.


The 2016 Miss Nebraska Scholarship Pageant takes place June 8-11 in North Platte, Nebraska.  Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER and ON INSTAGRAM.


PREVIOUS.. Miss Kearney 2016 Stacy Pospisil!

NEXT.. Miss Fur Trade Days 2016 Alex O’Connor!

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!

Choosing The Right Path

Think back to when you were a little boy or girl.. who did you look up to?  Who was the coolest person in your world you were DETERMINED to become?

Children need guidance.  They need a hand to lead them in the right direction.  In the absence of that positive influence, they’ll look to whomever is the leader or the dominant adult in their life.  Unfortunately, that’s not always a GOOD person.

Last night, KETV’s Davonte McKenith shared a powerful story about the cycle of crime taking place in part of Omaha.  A major message in his piece: organizations like 100 Black Men are desperately seeking new mentors to stand up and show children adults who are successful and hard working.  Many experts note if you break down the science of crime, the teens and young men responsible are following the same path their fathers took.. that’s all they see, and it’s all they know.

CLICK HERE to watch DaVonte’s eye-opening story on KETV

On the flip side, I’ve heard countless stories of the positive influences Miss Nebraska titleholders have had on young people.. many who have grown up to volunteer and compete themselves.  Just one year ago, Ravenna High School student Kara Kriha saw confidence, smiles and kindnes.. and knew this was a world she wanted to be part of.


Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“I first decided that I wanted to become involved in pageants when I was at Crowns & Gowns 2015 in North Platte,” Kara told me recently. The annual event brings together Miss Nebraska miss and teen titleholders among others for workshops, photo shoots, a local pageant and the always-anticipated Hirschfeld’s Prom Shoppe fashion show.

Kara entered an online Prom Girl contest, allowing voters to select who would model in the fashion show alongside the contestants.  Kara received more than 500 votes, and modeled several dresses before a crowd of hundreds.

“Everyone there was so nice to me and I had so much fun!” said Kara.  “Miss Nebraska is so much more than just a girl with a crown on her head.”

Kara competed in several local pageants last fall and that persistence was rewarded; she was crowned Miss Harvest Moon Festival 2016.


“This year I have grown so much,” said Kara.  “I am better at holding longer, intelligent conversations with people, especially adults.”

The 17-year old has also pursued a number of different interests before determining what she would showcase for her on-stage talent.  She’s a member of her high school band, she’s a trap-shooter, she spins rifles, she’s involved with 4-H in Buffalo County and she loves to ice skate.

Ultimately, Kara’s love for flag performance inspired both her competition talent and her platform of service, ‘Save the Arts’.

harlie marie photography

Photo courtesy Harlie Marie Photography

“I have been involved in art and music for as long as I can remember,” said Kara.  “It is extremely important that all kids have art and music available in their schools.”

And just like the titleholders who inspired her to compete for Miss Nebraska, Kara is also making community service a priority.  She now wants to be the role model she looked up to one short year ago.. to inspire young people to follow a path of hard work, kindness and ultimately, success.

“The reason I want to be Miss Nebraska is so that I can show people how much work that not only Miss Nebraska does, but all of the contestants for their communities,” said Kara.  “Not very many people know that the Miss America Organization’s national platform is Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or that they even have a national platform.  A lot of people see Miss Nebraska as just a pretty girl, but I want to change that so she is also seen as someone who loves and gives back to her community.”



CLICK EACH LINK to follow Miss Harvest Moon Festival 2016 Kara Kriha

on FACEBOOK and on INSTAGRAM.  To contact Kara for appearances or events email jkriha@yahoo.com.

For more information about the Miss Alliance/Miss Harvest Moon Festival Pageant, visit their FACEBOOK PAGE.  For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Riki Cornish Hunter by email at riki.hunter@farmcoop.com or by phone at 308-430-4355.


The 2016 Miss Nebraska Scholarship Pageant takes place June 8-11 in North Platte, Nebraska.  Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER and ON INSTAGRAM.


PREVIOUS.. Miss Omaha’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Hannah Miller!

NEXT.. Miss Sugar Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Courtney Pelland!

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!