This year, 16 incredible women will compete to become Miss Nebraska 2017. 18 hope to become Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen. Every one of them is already making an impact on people and the world around them and for decades, visiting schools has been a constant thread linking generations of contestants.
Classrooms are hotbeds for knowledge and learning; about the 3 R’s, about social skills, about the arts and more. It’s no different when Miss Nebraska titleholders visit schools and share their messages.. but how do you talk to a first grader about the serious issues these women are trying to impact? How do you write a lesson plan about sexual assault, cancer, or in one teen’s case, a chronic health diagnosis?
It’s a challenge Sheridan Blanco has eagerly accepted.
Miss Old West Balloon Fest’s Outstanding Teen 2017 Sheridan Blanco
“One challenge I face everyday is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis,” Sheridan told me recently. “I have not let this affect or limit what I accomplish.”
Sheridan served as Miss Harvest Moon Festival’s Outstanding Teen last year and competed for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen. Almost immediately, she jumped back in to try again, winning the title of Miss Old West Balloon Fest’s Outstanding Teen over the summer.
(Side note: Old West Balloon Fest is a huge, annual event in Mitchell, Nebraska. 16+ hot air balloons go up simultaneously to coincide with the historic Old West weekend!)
After the annual ride into the clouds, Sheridan got back to work sharing her story. She focuses on the bigger picture, calling her platform ‘Conquering Challenges.’
“Many challenges people face can be unknown to others,” said Sheridan. “Since we do not know what people are going through, we need to show empathy and be kind to everyone around us to help them through their challenges. I have taken this opportunity to overcome my own challenge and turn it into an opportunity to strive to be a positive role model and an inspiration to others.”
Sheridan, a Gering High student and Gering native, volunteers throughout her community at events. Often times, she joins forces with her sister queens in Western Nebraska to make an even bigger impact.
“Pageants bring out the strengths of the young women involved,” said Sheridan. “We may not know each other when we first arrive, but by the end of the competition many of us become very close. Some of my best friendships came from doing pageants. [They] give young ladies an opportunity to present a platform and to represent the values, integrity and scholarship that is an integral part of the pageant process.”
And terrific attributes for a maturing young woman learning more about the world around her. Sheridan has been selected for All-State Band, Doane Honor Band and Chadron Honor Band. She’s a state speech qualifier, and a national DECA qualifier. She has been selected for the All-State Academic Team for Tennis two years running, and is a dancer on the Gering High POMS team. She’s an Honor Roll student, a member of the National Honor Society, and a Best Actress Award recipient.
“This organization helps young women gain confidence, poise, and public speaking,” said Sheridan. “These are important skills to have for the future no matter what occupational path is taken. The benefits are for a lifetime and provide a remarkable experience.”
One that’s taking Sheridan to Omaha next weekend to once again compete for the state title. No doubt she’ll stop at a few classrooms along the way… which brings us back to that challenge about the message. How do you help children understand the deeper meaning behind the sparkly crown?
“When I go to schools I read ‘The Little Engine That Could’,” said Sheridan. “This way the younger kids can see the challenge that the train faces and how friends around him help him to conquer his challenge of getting up the hill. I usually tell kids that the best way to get through the day is to wake up and be positive!”
She thinks she can, she thinks she can, she thinks she can… and Sheridan Blanco plans to show everyone at Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
“The main goal is to do the best you can, have fun, and hopefully win,” said Sheridan. “My mission is to be the best representative for the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Organization. It would be a terrific honor to promote this organization and its high standards to other teens across the state.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SHERIDAN?
CLICK HERE * 2016 * Let’s Dance
For more information about the Miss Old West Balloon Fest Outstanding Teen Pageant or to become a contestant, CLICK HERE to visit their website, or CLICK HERE to visit their site on Facebook! You can also contact Director Cheryl Engelhaupt by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 308-783-2940.
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!