Tag Archive | dance factory

From ‘Sea’ To Shining ‘Sea’

Today is the day! Tonight, a new Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen will be crowned in Omaha!

For the last several months, a small network of volunteers has been working tirelessly to provide this wonderful opportunity for the best young women our state has to offer. Through those efforts, a record-breaking 19 teens are competing tonight, representing all corners of our state. Many of you have read about each of them in this series (THANK YOU!), and the following three teens round out this incredible class.

13-Sofia Drelicharz

Miss Eastern Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Sofia Drelicharz, a student at Westside Middle School in Omaha. She’s a natural performer; she was just in her school’s amazing production of Mary Poppins all last weekend. Her mission as a local titleholder is to spread awareness of food insecurity, especially in children.

4-Aubrie Charter

Photo courtesy Tiffany Williams Photography

Miss Heartland’s Outstanding Teen Aubrie Charter’s motto is¬†Dance+Baton+Point+Golf+Pageant=Happinessūüíó. She’s a busy young lady!! Aubrie is a 7th grader in North Platte, and a lifetime fan of the Miss Nebraska Pageant that takes place annually in her hometown.

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Photo courtesy Photographic Images

¬†Miss North Platte’s Outstanding Teen Aspen Golter is another North Platte native, an 8th grader trying Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen for the first time. She is also a dancer at The Dance Factory, owned by former Miss Nebraska Becky Smith, and a former participant in the America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization.

Tonight in Omaha, these three will compete with other teenagers spanning our state; from the winding Missouri River that borders Omaha, to the sleeping giant Platte River in North Platte, to the… ok, there’s no river border in western Nebraska, but you get my point!!

Tonight, these girls will take the spotlight, but in the shadows of the crowd, they will be cheered on by all of the volunteers who helped them find this path to Omaha. Roxanne Ludemann, Kelsey Ellis, and so many more; they are the local directors across our state who worked countless hours to provide resources and assistance to these titleholders. They don’t get paid to do this – they do it because they love to empower young women, and they love what this program stands for.

Ladies

With that, a sincere GOOD LUCK and THANK YOU to the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen organization, especially to directors Kali Tripp and Heather Edwards. Never before has this program had 19 contestants, a powerhouse panel of judges, record-breaking scholarship and award opportunities, and more. These powerful women are revolutionizing this program, and in doing so, empowering the teenagers who take part, creating an army of well-spoken, polished, service-minded citizens of Nebraska.

From ‘sea’ to shining ‘sea’… the best of the best. That is what will be represented on stage tonight.

CARSYN

Photo courtesy KC Creations Photography

Only one will become Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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For more information about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen program or to become a contestant,¬†CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Facebook,¬†or CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Twitter. You can also contact Director Heather Edwards at¬†heatheraloseke@gmail.com or Director Kali Tripp at¬†KaliNicoleTV@gmail.com.

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The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Competition takes place April 28 in North Omaha, Nebraska.

PREVIOUS..¬†Miss Millard’s Outstanding Teen Marissa Messick

NEXT.. Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Carsyn Long

The Greatest Love Of All

I woke up this weekend to a notification on my phone: ‘It’s Aleah’s birthday!’ Aleah, as in Miss Nebraska 2016 Aleah Peters. I knew immediately what I wanted to share to wish her the best and hopefully make her smile.

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Photo courtesy Kim Therkildsen Photography

This photo was taken at Aleah’s send-off party for Miss America in the summer of 2016. My boys were IN HEAVEN. This look on Easton’s face is one of my all-time favorites.

A lot of people like kids. Some people were simply MEANT to work with children. You see the proof in photos like this, and how they continue to focus on kids long after their pageant days are done.

Alyssa

The same day Miss Nebraska 2015 Alyssa Howell turned 23, she announced that she will be teaching 3rd grade at Elkhorn’s Manchester Elementary next year. Part of the legacy she wanted to leave as Miss Nebraska was that she had an impact on children; my feature article on her in 2014 was entitled ‘The Kid Whisperer.’

Another young lady in Elkhorn hopes to follow both Alyssa and Aleah’s lead.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“As a child, any girl with a crown and a purpose just reminded me how much I wanted to make a difference when I got older,” said Rachel Greufe, Miss Elkhorn’s Outstanding Teen. Both of her sisters competed in pageants, and Rachel’s family has long-promoted community service. They’ll be by her side as she competes to become Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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They’ve been cheering her on for years now; Rachel is a state champion cheerleader at Elkhorn South, where she is also president of the Student Council, president of Junior Class Board, and part of the Storm’s award-winning varsity show choir.

So why add one more activity to the list?

“Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen teaches young women to be poised, cordial, and giving,” said Rachel. In a local title, Rachel also found a high-profile opportunity raise awareness about a very personal fight against skin cancer.

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“My platform is Loving The Skin You’re In,” said Rachel. “This platform was inspired by my parents and the struggles they have gone through. My mom had colon cancer and my dad had skin cancer. But, my family was fortunate enough to come out of it stronger than before. Although both experiences were scary at the time, my dad‚Äôs cancer allowed me to see the sun in a new light (pun intended). I know now that there are many issues regarding its strength and how teenagers and people of all ages underestimate it. I encourage men and women to ‚Äúlove the skin they‚Äôre in‚ÄĚ instead of ruining it at a young age. My dad‚Äôs experiences have shaped mine and have reminded me to always wear protection when going out in the sun, NEVER tan in a tanning bed, and truly love the skin I was given.”

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And while that mission has taken her to some wonderful places, including meeting Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, Rachel is focused on the children and teenagers she connects with, especially the other young women she’ll compete alongside for a state title later this week.

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“My goal at the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant is to bond with the wonderful girls from all across Nebraska,” said Rachel. “I can’t wait to meet them and learn about all the good each girl has done. I can’t wait!”

 

 

The common thread between so many Miss Nebraska’s is children. As Alyssa Howell decorates her new classroom this fall, so too will teachers and former Miss Nebraska’s Mariah Cook (2012) and Jill Pennington (2000). Miss Nebraska 2011 Kayla Batt-Jacox is currently planning a piano recital for all of the kids she teaches every day. Miss Nebraska 1999 Becky Smith inspires and mentors hundreds of little girls as the owner and teacher of The Dance Factory in North Platte and Ogallala.

Rachel wants to be an orthodontist, opening up her own practice in her home state to continue working with kids. She hopes she doesn’t have to wait that long to simply inspire children.

“[Making a difference] is exactly what I am trying to do now,” said Rachel. “Making a difference and inspiring younger girls is my purpose and favorite part of being a titleholder.”

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To follow Miss Elkhorn’s Outstanding Teen Rachel Greufe, click here.

For more information about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen program or to become a contestant,¬†CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Facebook,¬†or CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Twitter. You can also contact Director Heather Edwards at¬†heatheraloseke@gmail.com or Director Kali Tripp at¬†KaliNicoleTV@gmail.com.

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The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Competition takes place April 28 in North Omaha, Nebraska.

PREVIOUS..¬†Miss Metro’s Outstanding Teen Kelsie Therkildsen

NEXT.. Miss Millard’s Outstanding Teen Marissa Messick

Cheer Rules

I’ve never been a cheerleader. ¬†The closest I ever came was borrowing my friend Elisa’s cheerleading uniform in high school to do a drama skit during a pep rally at PLHS. ¬†I am, however, a former pageant girl. ¬†And I daresay we have all faced the same stereotypes.

We care more about makeup than we do about talent.

We are all Valley girls.. as in the Valley of Dumb.

We are just for show.. we objectify ourselves by taking part.. we should do more and be more.

To all of this, I laugh. ¬†HARD. ¬†I know how hard I worked for two straight years as I competed for Miss Nebraska and served my local community as a titleholder. ¬†I’ve also seen my friends, my cousin, and now the same young women I work with at Westside and with pageants spend countless hours in the gym perfecting routines and skills. ¬†I’m excited to meet yet another one this weekend in Omaha.

Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Whitney Miller

Whitney Miller will compete for the title of Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen this weekend, representing the North Platte Bulldog Varsity Cheer Squad. ¬†She is one of SEVERAL NPHS students competing for a title this year; two of them are cheerleaders.

Whitney Cheer

Yes, they smile.  Yes, they are beautiful.  But as a squad, these girls are also making an impact in their community.

Last May, Whitney was part of the group that surprised little Jack at his 4th birthday party. ¬†This was right in the middle of Districts and State for Spring sports, finals prep, and graduation parties, yet Whitney and her fellow cheerleaders made an effort to make this little guy’s birthday party a little more memorable.

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In October, the Varsity Cheer squad sold memory cards like this, displaying names of survivors and those lost to cancer. ¬†They raised awareness through events like their ‘Purple Out’ game and donated all proceeds of their efforts to the Callahan Cancer Center.

Just last month, Whitney and her fellow cheerleaders went to Buffalo Elementary school for a last minute pep rally, to pump up students taking NeSA tests!  The response: simply amazing.  CLICK HERE to see for yourself!

Whitney Dance Factory

Just making the Varsity squad is not an easy task; Whitney is a talented, competitive dancer at the North Platte Dance Factory, owned and led by Miss Nebraska 1999 Becky Smith.  She spends hours at the studio every week, in addition to her studies at North Platte High.

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Dedication to education that earned Whitney an Academic Letter this Spring.

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So did we cover it, haters?  Talent. Brains.  An activity that requires the young women who take part to work hard and dedicate themselves to goals and to their community.  Imagine what the world would be like if we all let our inner cheerleaders take hold once in a while?

Pageant girls do. ¬†And this weekend, Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Whitney Miller is ready to¬†prove it.

Whitney final

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The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place April 21-22 in Omaha, Nebraska.

CLICK HERE for more details, HERE to follow on Twitter, HERE to follow on Facebook.  For more information about becoming a contestant, email Director Heather Edwards at heatheraloseke@gmail.com

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PREVIOUS..¬†Miss York County’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Alexandria Warneke

NEXT.. Miss¬†Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Hannah Miller

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!

 

College Ready

I have been so honored, as of February 3, to be Co-Marketing Director of the Miss Nebraska Organization.  From the get-go, our Board has had several clear goals for this year: to set a new record in scholarships for our contestants, to provide new opportunities for Miss Nebraska and all of our titleholders, and to host one heck of a pageant in just a few short weeks!  That said, we could barely hold back our excitement at Orientation as Executive Director Rachel Daly told all contestants, their directors and their families that this year, we were proud to offer an estimated $1.3 million dollars in cash and college scholarships.

$1.3 MILLION DOLLARS

Yeah, that is worth the jumbo font. ¬†One of our key contributors, Midland University, is offering every single contestant, regardless of how they finish, $15,000 annually. ¬†That’s a guaranteed $60,000 for every, single Miss Nebraska contestant if they are accepted into Midland University. ¬†One young woman’s mother approached us to confirm this was all true, and when we said yes, she said she almost cried. ¬†Her daughter, Courtney, is going to Midland next year.

Miss Fur Trade Days 2017 Courtney Pelland

“I want people to know the Miss America Organization is not based on how beautiful we are,” Courtney told me recently. ¬†“Overall, this organization provides scholarships for the girls who compete to help with college debt. ¬†That is a huge deal.”

Courtney, a senior at North Platte High School, has witnessed the positive attributes of the Miss Nebraska Program for most of her life. ¬†As she told me last year (click here to read more!)¬†she and her family have been involved with nearly every facet of the program including Host Family, Little Sister, Teen titleholder, and now a Miss titleholder. ¬†Courtney has also been mentored by several Miss Nebraska’s, including Miss Nebraska 2009 Brittany Jeffers and Miss Nebraska 1999 Becky Smith.

“When I was 14, I wanted to start competing, but the only issue [I faced] was my shyness,” said Courtney. ¬†“Halfway through my freshman year of high school, my Nana (my dad’s mother) passed away, five days before my birthday. ¬†My Nana always loved pageantry and wanted me to one day compete for the title of Miss Nebraska.”

Now she will.  Courtney was crowned Miss Fur Trade Days last fall, in her first year eligible to compete for Miss Nebraska (click here to read an article about her win in the North Platte Telegraph!).  Volunteering has been a key element for Courtney in both her Teen and Miss roles, because she knows personally the impact one person can have.  In January of 2015, Courtney was admitted to the hospital, in dire need of blood.

“I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia; I was given two units of blood that day,” said Courtney. ¬†“Eventually I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, but I also realized how important it is to donate blood.”

And Courtney has been taking that message across her hometown and beyond. ¬†She’s spoken to students and groups, she’s organized blood drives in North Platte, she’s partnered with the American Red Cross to strengthen her impact, and she shares powerful statistics and stories on social media, hoping to compel others to donate. ¬†Click here to read the North Platte Telegraph’s story about Courtney!

“My favorite part of the organization doesn’t have anything to do with the actual competition,” said Courtney. ¬†“My favorite part is being able to give back to my community in a different way. ¬†A crown and sash don’t define someone, it’s about all of us girls making an impact on someone. ¬†I have a friend who says the reason he donates blood is because of what I had to go through. ¬†I am involved with this program because I want to make a difference in this world and help others out.”

¬†Courtney makes appearances and volunteers at events in addition to an incredibly active personal schedule. ¬†She works, takes part in musical, is a member of the Pacers Dance Team, trains with the Dance Factory in North Platte.. and she’s preparing for high school graduation next month! ¬†Courtney was named her high school’s Bulldog of the Month in December, click here to read more!

“I am a very busy girl and always on the go,” said Courtney. ¬†“Being this busy I have to be very organized with the things I have decided on. ¬†Once I put my mind to something, nothing can stop me. If I want it I will do everything in my power to achieve that goal or get to where I want to be.”

Courtney credits the Miss Nebraska and Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Organizations for helping her meet those challenges, and find support along the way.

“This organization has pushed me out of my comfort zone and into this bubbly, caring girl,” said Courtney. ¬†“I have learned that it is okay to state your opinion, ask questions and show the world who you truly are. ¬†I am now able to go up to random people and hold a conversation without even thinking about it.”

“On top of me finding my true self, I have formed some incredible friendships across the state,” said Courtney. ¬†“Miss Chadron Shaniah Freeseman and I are sister queens this year, and I have been blessed to have a girl like her by my side. ¬†She has become a sister to me. ¬†This type of friendship is the one I hope every girl is able to form.”

Making long-lasting friendships is one of Courtney’s ultimate goals for her experience this year leading up to and at the Miss Nebraska Pageant. ¬†She wants to network, make her hometown proud, and¬†use the life lessons she’s learned on this journey as she attends Midland University¬†to major in Fine Arts Management this fall. ¬†She’ll also have a little help every step of the way… some extra cash in her pocket thanks to the Miss Nebraska Organization, and some extra love in hand as she competes for her state title.

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“Every time I compete in a pageant, I have a buckeye to remind me of Nana, and I always carry it around before my interview,” said Courtney. ¬†“Knowing that she is by my side drives me to compete and to make a difference in this world.”

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Click here to follow Miss Fur Trade Days 2017 Courtney Pelland on Facebook!

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COURTNEY?

CLICK HERE * 2016 * Everyday America

For more information about the Miss Chadron/Miss Northwest/Miss Fur Trade Days Pageant or for information about becoming a contestant, CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Facebook.  You can also email Director Sara Smith at misscnwdirectors@gmail.com or by calling (308) 430-2613.

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The Miss Nebraska Pageant takes place June 7-10 in North Platte, Nebraska.

CLICK HERE for more details, HERE to follow on Twitter, HERE to follow on Facebook.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Chadron’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Brianna Little

NEXT.. Miss York County’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Alexandria Warneke

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!

Sister Act

To the world, you may be one person; but to one person, you may be the world.

SISTER. ¬†To all of you who have one, I am envious; what a special bond, to have someone you can always talk to, always relate to, tease and then hug, laugh but still fight, a person that you will be bonded to for life for better or for worse. ¬†That’s pretty darn awesome!

Big sisters have a huge responsibility. ¬†Your little sister is your ‘big brother’, watching every move you make, wanting to emulate everything you do, and if you’re lucky, becoming a mirror of all of your best attributes. ¬†Emma Wilkinson is EXTREMELY lucky; she has had several¬†women in her life playing the role of¬†‘big sister’, and all¬†have had an enormous impact on the young woman she is becoming.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

The title of ‘little sister’ has been a formative factor in Emma’s life since she ¬†was a young girl growing up in North Platte, the home of the Miss Nebraska pageant.

“I was involved in the Little Sisters Program and I’ve dreamt of being Miss Nebraska ever since,” Emma told me recently. ¬†“My Big Sister was Miss Nebraska 2009 Brittany Jeffers! ¬†I was so lucky to be her Little Sister the year she won! ¬†As I watched my Big Sister dance her heart out on the Miss Nebraska stage, I realized I wanted to be a dancer!”

Emma started dance lessons at the Dance Factory in North Platte, under the direction of Miss Nebraska 1999 Becky Smith-Wagner.

“Today, I’m at the highest level in my studio. ¬†I take ballet, jazz and lyrical,” said Emma. ¬†“My dance teacher, Becky Wagner, has had such an amazing influence on my life. ¬†She has been such an amazing role model for not only for me, but for all of the girls who attend classes at The Dance Factory.”

Every class, and every life lesson Emma learned from these women helped fuel that initial dream to compete for one of our state’s longest standing honors. ¬†This year, Emma couldn’t wait any longer.. and since she isn’t yet old enough to compete for Miss Nebraska, she signed up to compete for the organization’s ‘little sister’ program, Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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In her first pageant, Emma was crowned Miss Chadron’s Outstanding Teen 2016, giving her the same performance and leadership opportunities both Brittany and Becky pursued years ago.

“Although I love to dance, singing is my passion,” said Emma. ¬†“Ever since I received the lead of Little Red Riding Hood¬†in a musical here at North Platte Community Playhouse, I have been lost in musical theatre and the art of performing. ¬†I went to Texas Arts Project in Austin to gain more passion for singing, dancing and acting.”

Emma, a junior at North Platte High School, is also Vice President of the Nebraska Association of Student Councils (NASC; Emma served as district president last year), a cheerleader, and involved with Key Club and Honor Society. ¬†In addition, every summer she attends Launch, a statewide leadership program. ¬†That organization and Emma’s involvement inspired her personal platform of service as Miss Chadron’s Outstanding Teen, ‘Breaking Down Barriers: Education To End Stereotyping.’

“I have watched stereotypes drive kids away from exploration of themselves and the communities they inhabit, and instead into molds that high school has predetermined for them,” said Emma. ¬†“It is not impossible to defeat stereotyping. ¬†Simply getting to know each other weakens the barriers. ¬†Making real connections with a classmate is stronger than any stereotype.”

Emma has also been busy making those connections herself, with her Class of 2016 Outstanding Teen sisters.

Together, these girls have been making appearances across the state, trying to have a positive impact on their communities, in addition to the responsibilities and commitments they have made as high school students.

“I am passionate about catalyzing positive change in my school, in my community, and in Nebraska,” said Emma.

Emma credits that drive and desire to form relationship to the sister and bond that stand out from all the rest.

“My biggest role model is my sister, Lily,” said Emma. ¬†“When she was in high school, she was NASC’s state president, and she currently attends Harvard College in Boston. ¬†She truly can do anything she sets her mind to and continues to make me extremely proud.”

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A beautiful sentiment from a little sister.. who will now become the big sister she’s always admired. ¬†The above photo was taken this spring, when Emma was cast as Belle in North Platte High School’s production of Beauty and the Beast.

“That experience was something I will never forget,” said Emma. ¬†“After every show, I loved walking out to greet people who came to watch me. ¬†I will never, ever forget the look on the little girls’ faces when they saw Belle standing right in front of them. ¬†Little did they know, I felt just as honored as they did.”

Perhaps, a preview to this year’s Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, when it will be Emma on stage, looked at and fawned over by countless little girls, dreaming of someday¬†wearing that same crown.

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CLICK HERE to follow Miss Chadron’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Emma Wilkinson on Facebook!

For information on becoming a contestant, CLICK HERE to visit the Miss Chadron/Northwest/Fur Trade Days Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook.  You can also contact Director Amanda Vogel by phone at 308-665-5595 or by email at maoteenchadron@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.

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The 2016 Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place June 10 in North Platte, Nebraska. ¬†Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER¬†and ON INSTAGRAM.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Twin Rivers 2016 Jenni Wahonick!

NEXT.. Miss Scotts Bluff County 2016 Allison Baird!

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!

Everyday America

Omaha, Nebraska.

This isn’t just where I work, it’s the area where I grew up. I’m officially a Papillion girl.. I rode my bike to Papio Pool, sled on the ‘big hill’ at 72nd and Hwy 370 before the apartments went up,¬†and I graduated from PLHS back when there was only one high school.. #Old. ¬†The first home I remember was near Central Park in La Vista. I played softball as a little girl in Glenwood. ¬†I’ve spent countless family road trips heading west to Seward and east to Atlantic. ¬†This area is all I know–it’s HOME. (And I think these were the original lyrics to Sugarland’s Everyday America.. #TheMoreYouKnow)

North Platte, Nebraska is synonymous with the Miss Nebraska Pageant. ¬†For more than three decades, this city has crowned the women who have gone on¬†to compete at Miss America. ¬†So when North Platte is YOUR home, I suppose it’s destiny that someday YOU will be competing for the historic honor.

Courtney Pelland was been immersed in the Miss Nebraska Pageant for years, and one of the key descriptors of the accompanying Teen program, ‘Outstanding’, could be her middle name. ¬†I think they call this fate.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“My mom has taken me to every state pageant since I was 5,” Courtney told me recently. ¬†“I’m involved in dancing at the Dance Factory with Becky Smith-Wagner, Miss Nebraska 1999. I was involved in the Little Sisters Program in 2008 to Brittany Jeffers, Miss Nebraska 2009. ¬†We are Miss Heartland 2016 Tosha Skinner’s host family. ¬†The girls in this program are welcoming and open to who any one girl is as a person.”

While it may have taken Courtney awhile to come out of her shell and compete on her own, there was never a question as to what her platform of service would be.. she wanted to share her personal story.

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“My platform is called ‘Knowing Your Body, Taking A Step Back’. ¬†I decided on this platform after being hospitalized in January 2015,” said Courtney. ¬†“My hemoglobin was at 6.6 (normal is 12) and I had no iron or iron storage left in my body; I was ghost white.”

Courtney received two blood transfusions and iron that day, and had to visit North Platte’s cancer center once a week for the next two months. ¬†In October, doctors diagnosed Courtney with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune condition preventing the body from absorbing needed nutrients (like iron). ¬†In addition, she underwent a hip labrum repair in June, an injury that had caused Courtney pain for at least two years.

“This whole experience has taught me to pay attention to your body and know when something is wrong,” said Courtney. ¬†“That’s the message I want to get out and tell kids about.”

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So in November, when Courtney won her first title as Miss Sugar Valley’s Outstanding Teen, she set out on a mission to spread that message to as many people as possible.

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Multiple times every week, Courtney updates both her personal¬†and Miss Western Nebraska Facebook pages with photos and recaps of schools she’s visiting, events she’s speaking at, and where she’s volunteering. ¬†The North Platte High School newspaper, the Bulldogger, even featured Courtney in a recent article (click here to read more!)

“I have gone around volunteering for the Salvation Army this past Christmas, volunteering at my old elementary school, Osgood, at Fun Night, {in addition to Sutherland and Stapleton}, and served at the homeless shelter here in North Platte,” said Courtney. ¬†“My favorite thing about holding a title this year has been going out to schools and talking to them about my platform.”

Courtney is also an All-State choir member, plays the tenor saxophone, is involved with National Honor Society and volunteers at her local hospital for the JV Ambassador’s Program. ¬†Her home away from home is the Dance Factory, where she assists with pre-school and kindergarten classes at the Dance Factory, in addition to training in dance herself.

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Photo courtesy Irish Eye Photography

“My favorite part of the competition is talent because I get to show my skills, release and express my emotions and entertain the crowd,” said Courtney. ¬†“Through this program I have become more confident in who I am as a person and more comfortable with my body. ¬†I have learned to love myself for who I am. ¬†I overcame my shyness and learned more about myself. ¬†This organization is not based on beauty. ¬†It is based on intelligence and builds confidence in girls and women.”

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Now, with the support of her mother (who Courtney calls her role model and best friend), and the rest of her family (“I don’t know what I would do without them”), Courtney wants to become one of the women she learned from and admired all these years in North Platte, and continue¬†the sisterhood¬†of role models crowned in this great city and sent out across the state.

‘That’s how it goes in everyday America,¬†A little town and a great big life.’ — Sugarland

“My parents always tease me about being the social one,” said Courtney. ¬†“I enjoy being with people and talking to children. ¬†I should be the next Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen because I have a passion to share my experience with others.”

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CLICK HERE to follow¬†Miss Sugar Valley’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Courtney Pelland

ON FACEBOOK and ON INSTAGRAM.  You can also follow Courtney on the Miss Western Nebraska Pageant Facebook page.

For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Kyla Ansley by phone at 308-631-0938 or by email at kyla_ansley@hotmail.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.

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The 2016 Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place June 10 in North Platte, Nebraska. ¬†Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER¬†and ON INSTAGRAM.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Harvest Moon Festival 2016 Kara Kriha!

NEXT.. Miss Chadron 2016 Tyler Rambali!

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!