Tag Archive | miss sandhills

La La Land

We are deep in graduation season both here at Westside and across the country, which means I have been writing, writing, writing, and WRITING nonstop. This is a time of year when we are celebrating the achievements of all students, our teachers, and of course, the Class of 2018.

In so many presentations I hear and write, the message is simple: JUST DO IT. Whatever your dreams and goals may be, whatever you want to do, and wherever your path in life may lead you, follow it with everything you’ve got. Work hard, be kind, appreciate the help others give you, and offer the same to those who follow. Be PASSIONATE about the desires of your heart in both career and life in general, and just DO it.

Regan Kolbo is a Nebraska girl hailing from Crete, population 7,000. She’s proud of her state, forever in love with her hometown, but she also heard a calling 1,500 miles away… to La La Land.

Regan Kolbo - Miss Sandhills

Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“The scary part of life is in the unknowing,” said 19-year old Regan Kolbo, who left for California shortly after graduating from Crete High School. She’s a gifted dancer, model, and the former World’s Miss Glamorous Teen, winning the national competition while representing Nebraska. That experience confirmed several things Regan already knew.. she was drawn to the spotlight, and belonged in the world of entertainment and performing.

Regan courtesy Ali Marie Photography

Photo courtesy Ali Marie Photography

So where to begin? How to dive into this world of fame and fortune?

Regan joined the Miss Nebraska sisterhood.

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“Miss America titleholders seem to have a genuine heart and strong poise, and I knew that I needed to be a part of it,” Regan told me. “This is a system where I can mix my passion for dance and community service. Miss Nebraska is a program to be a part of because it creates a supportive environment for young women to grow and celebrate their successes, past and future.”

 

 

She could have competed anywhere, but Regan wanted to represent the state that owns her heart. She was crowned Miss Sandhills 2018, punching her ticket to compete at the 2018 Miss Nebraska Scholarship Competition.

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“I am a fifth generation Nebraskan,” said Regan. “Nebraska will always be my home because of the hardworking, passionate and charismatic people that I grew up around. I cherish every ‘ope’ and ‘Go Big Red’ I hear, and top of the steering wheel wave I receive. From my family, to the Crete Cardinal Pride, to small town businesses, there is nothing like Nebraska.”

And history has shown there’s nothing like a little Miss America notoriety to get a leg up in show business. Past Miss America winners and finalists have gone on to find terrific success in Hollywood, including Kira Kazantsev, Vanessa Williams, and Phyllis George to name a few.

“This is an organization of strong, smart and talented women supporting each other and loving each other,” said Regan. “My goal at Miss Nebraska is to challenge myself and become the best women I can be. I challenge myself not to stress, and to enjoy being in the moment.”

Helping in that goal, Regan has focused on a key element of the Miss Nebraska program: service.

“My platform is Adopt, Don’t Shop,” said Regan. “While in LA, I have devoted more than 150 hours volunteering for rescue organizations Catmandoo and Tommy’s Lil Angels. In Nebraska, I lobbied for LB893, a bill that would require the humane sourcing of pets for sale or up for adoption in pet stores. I also plan to work with the Humane Society of the United States – Nebraska and the national nonprofit, Bailing Out Benji, to educate people about and end puppy mills. Nebraska ranks in the bottom four states in the country, described as the worst in the US regarding puppy mills.”

Purpose. Passion. Positivity.

Regan says she aspires to be like the women who will surround her at Miss Nebraska, and some of those in her adopted home of Los Angeles.

“Ellen DeGeneres is a superhero in my eyes,” said Regan. “She uses her show to make the world a better place through laughter, and she recognizes and rewards those who are also extraordinary in this world. As I begin my journey in the entertainment industry, I choose to remain like Ellen, who just wants to positively make people happy.”

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Here’s what makes Regan happy: stepping on stage, posing in front of a camera, and walking up to a little girl in awe because of that sparkly crown and sash. Splitting her time between her two favorite places on the planet: Los Angeles and Nebraska. Regan Kolbo’s not living in La La Land, she’s actively PURSUING it. To all the Coulda Woulda Shoulda’s out there reading this, I’d argue because of that, this young lady has already won.

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“Honestly, I do not quite have a plan,” said Regan. “This Miss Nebraska journey has already taught me so much about who I am and where I belong. It has given me the skills and confidence to embrace the unknown and just to enjoy life’s rollercoaster.”

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The Miss Nebraska Scholarship Competition takes place June 7-9 in North Platte, Nebraska.

CLICK HERE to follow the Miss Nebraska Organization on Facebook

CLICK HERE to follow the Miss Nebraska Organization on Twitter

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Star City 2018 Allison Baird

NEXT.. Miss Omaha 2018 Allie Swanson

The Sound Of Music

Right now, I’m writing this blog listening to the film score from The Lone Ranger.

Perhaps you’re asking.. Umm.. what?!?!

You read that right.  John Williams radio on Pandora is my go-to when I need to drown out the world.. whether it’s my own thoughts, chatter, or negativity clouding my mind.  The violins, the drums, the SERENITY of these symphonic masterpieces help me focus and block out all the distractions trying to make their way in.  From this Hans Zimmer soundtrack piping through my earbuds, to Williams’ iconic (and for me, BELOVED) movie soundtracks.. music is my rock in these moments.

CLICK HERE if you need a zen moment.. and check out KETV’s feature on future violinists at the Omaha Conservatory of Music!  WARNING–you may DIE of cuteness overload!

Music represents even more for Kate Lynne Duncan, a UNK student and future music teacher.  In the soundtrack of her life, there’s a song for every milestone moment and she’s usually working on what will play next.  Music is her past, present and future.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“Music has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Kate told me recently.  “I can’t imagine my education, or life, without music and I hope that my future students never have to.”

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It’s that love of performing that led Kate to the Miss Nebraska Organization; she’ll compete for the title in June as Miss Alliance 2016.  This is Kate’s third local title within the Miss America Organization, and she also competed as a teenager starting at the age of 14.

“I could not have paid for my first semester of college without the money I received from Miss Nebraska that fall,” said Kate.  “More recently, the scholarship money has helped pay off part of my student loan.  I have increased my self-confidence, poise, sharpened my interview skills and gained communication skills.  I really feel that I can tackle any job interview I encounter.”

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But neither pageants, nor college have just been about building to a final crescendo.  When I spoke with Kate last year as she served as Miss Sandhills (click here to read more!) she described the last few years as a metamorphosis in way because of all of her personal growth.  Kate is currently in her fourth year at the University of Nebraska Kearney where she is also a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, the Nebraska Association for Music Educators, the Thompson Scholar Learning Community and the National Association for Residence Hall Honorary (Kate is a third year Resident Assistant).

“I have enthusiasm, positivity, zeal and I encourage those around me,” said Kate.  “It may take a little coffee to wake me up, but I strive to put a smile on someone’s face each day.”

Kate credits that drive to a support network including her family, sorority sisters, and her boyfriend, Andrew.

 “I consider my mother to both my role model and one of my closest friends,” added Kate.  ” I would not stay sane with my hectic daily lifestyle if it wasn’t for her love, support and guidance.  She is always a phone call away and makes frequent 5+ hour drives to see me when I haven’t been able to make it home for a few months.”

Kate also has a close relationship with her father, nurtured by, of course, music.

“Editing my pageant music has become a bonding activity for my father and I,” said Kate.  “He knows the technological aspects of the software program, and I just sing through our cutting and help with the fine tuning of the audio.”

But Kate was to spread her music far beyond the Miss Nebraska Pageant; she’s devoted this to her personal platform called ‘Please Don’t Stop The Music: the importance of fine arts education in schools.’

“I’ve built many connections in my hometown, college town and across the state that will enable me to participate in events and reach out to schools,” said Kate.

So back to John Williams (and by the way, the score from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is now playing).. for anyone who’s never followed it, the Miss Nebraska Pageant is truly MUSIC in a way.. it’s the union of different sounds and styles to create one symphonic masterpiece.  This organization highlights women with various backgrounds, talents and visions that when brought together, empower and inspire everyone who witnesses it.

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These women make MUSIC together.  And Kate Duncan is on a mission to remind all of us how much the world needs that.

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CLICK EACH LINK to follow Miss Alliance 2016 Kate Lynne Duncan

on FACEBOOK, on TWITTER, on INSTAGRAM

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT KATE?

CLICK HERE * 2015 * Madame Butterfly

For more information about the Miss Alliance Pageant, visit 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.

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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.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Douglas County 2016 Savannah Rave!

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

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!

Madame Butterfly

Think back to where you were in 2012.. what you did, the places you traveled, the person who were. My husband and I took a long awaited trip to Hawaii… as parents of ONE, not two.  I can’t imagine life without my two little boys.. and can hardly remember a time before I was a momma of two, even though it was just a few years ago.

Now, imagine how much your life changed between when you were, say, 17 years old.. and 20 years old.  The music you sang along with in the car.. the stages in life those songs represented. For this young woman, those ages and times could arguably be represented by two records, two Miss Nebraska pageants, and two very different points in her life.

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MISS SANDHILLS 2015 KATE LYNNE DUNCAN

(Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography)

“The last time I competed at Miss Nebraska was in 2012 as Miss Scottsbluff.  I was only eligible for the Miss division because I graduated from Gering High School less than one month before Miss Nebraska, I was only 17 at the time,” Kate  told me recently.  “I am absolutely elated to have the opportunity to compete on the Miss Nebraska stage again!  Three years later, I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth.”

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2012 to 2015, sister queens Jessica Littlejohn and Kate Lynne Duncan

That maturation is what inspires Kate’s platform of service: ‘True Beauty: It Shines From The Inside.’  She’s promoting the DOVE Beauty Project, in addition to her own message to women to see their own beauty as others do.

“[Reveal] your attitude, outlook, confidence, intelligence and passion,” said Kate.  “It is all too easy to be absorbed in the body shaming negativity seen in the media.  Young women often feel inadequate if they fail to fit the picture-perfect, highly photo-shopped and airbrushed mold.  I strive to inspire young women to inspire and create a world where beauty is a source of self-confidence, not anxiety.”

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As Miss Sandhills, Kate created a self-esteem workshop, including varied activities for elementary, middle and high school students.  Schools are familiar environments for Kate; she’s studying K-12 Music Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney focusing on vocal music and a 7-12 English endorsement.  She’s also a Resident Assistant on campus, is active with the Loper Activities Program Counsel, the collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Educators and the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.

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“I would have not been able to afford my first year at UNK wthout the scholarships I received from competing in the 2012 Miss Nebraska pageant,” said Kate.  “With the funds I have received from competing, I will pay off my only student loan this fall and graduate in May 2017 debt free.”

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Kate has also spent the last three years perfecting her passion, music.

“With three years of private vocal study under my belt, my voice has grown tremendously since the last time I competed on the Miss Nebraska stage,” said Kate.  “This June I will be performing Carrie Underwood’s ‘Something In The Water’.  She has a powerhouse voice and I’m definitely up for the challenge.  The first time I heard that song it gave me goosebumps and I knew I had to sing it.”

And arguably, a fitting choice.  The song is all about evolution within faith, growth in spirit and as a person.  Kate Lynne Duncan, 2015.  Flashback to 2012 when she sang Blessings by Laura Story.  From a promising high school graduate testing the waters of independence, to a driven woman achieving her academic goals as a leader among her peers.  Two songs, two stages, transformation.  Kate Lynne Duncan is a butterfly, ready to return to North Platte and poised to reveal HER inner beauty.

lukas saulsberry photography

Follow Miss Sandhills 2015 Kate Lynne Duncan

and contact her about appearances and events on Twitter, on Instagram and on Facebook.  Click here to read Kate Lynne’s blog A Whole Latte Love.  

For information on becoming a future contestant, contact Director Shardel Nelson at 308-760-7266 or by email at shardel@bbc.net.

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The Miss Nebraska Pageant will take place June 3-6, 2015 in North Platte.  Click here to visit the organization’s website, to visit the pageant on Facebook, to follow the pageant on Twitter, and to follow the pageant on Instagram.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Kearney Crane Festival 2015 Allison Tietjen

NEXT.. **SPECIAL FEATURE** Miss Iowa 2014 Aly Olson

To read more about the Miss Nebraska Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.