Tag Archive | miss sugar valley’s outstanding teen

Persistence

I’m biased, but my son is BRILLIANT. OK, I’m exaggerating, but actually, not by much.. at just 7 years old, he’s already reading at a grade level several higher than his own, he LOVES math and science, and I’m convinced he has a photographic memory. Many aspects of learning come easy to him… so he gets frustrated when something presents a challenge he can’t master on his first attempt. It’s a lesson my husband is always helping him learn, that sometimes, we have to try a little harder and it makes success that much sweeter.

We saw proof of that the other night.. playing a video game at home. Easton FINALLY beat a ‘boss’ that he’d been working on for days, persistently working through the same level over and over again. ‘YEEESSSSSSS!’ he shouted, a huge smile on his tiny face, and he quickly turned around to make sure Brian was watching. We were ūüôā

Flashback 16 years to an auditorium in Kearney. Tina Foehlinger stood on that stage, and FINALLY heard her name called as the winner of the Miss Tri-Cities Pageant. In the months leading up to that moment, she had competed in SIX locals, finishing first runner up SIX DIFFERENT TIMES. She never quit.

Neither did Courtney Pelland.

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Courtney has traveled Nebraska since last summer, hoping to win a local title and advance to the Miss Nebraska Pageant this summer. Time after time, she was named a finalist, leading to one last attempt in February.

“I was competing in my hometown, North Platte,” Courtney told me. “When my name was called, the crowd went wild. Being crowned in my hometown was an honor, and to have so many supporters there made my crowning 10 times more special.”

 

 

Courtney has dreamed of becoming Miss Nebraska for nearly a decade now, when she was a Little Sister to then Miss Omaha Brittany Jeffers. With Courtney at her side, Brittany went on to win Miss Nebraska and become our state’s first Top 10 finalist at the Miss America Pageant in 25 years. (Click here for photos!)

“I knew competing in pageants would help build my confidence, develop my interview skills, help pay for college, and build amazing friendships,” said Courtney. “I can proudly say I have friends across Nebraska and it is truly amazing how we inspire one another.”

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This is Courtney’s third year competing for a state title, first as Miss Sugar Valley’s Outstanding Teen, then Miss Fur Trade Days, and now, as Miss Nebraska State Fair. She’s used each title to advocate for a cause very personal for her: blood donation. Courtney has Celiac Disease, the latest in a series of diagnoses her sophomore year of high school that sent her to the hospital and in dire need of blood.

“My favorite part of being a titleholder has been touching the lives of kids, teens and adults with my personal story, and by simply listening what they have to say,” said Courtney. “I love telling them about the importance of blood donation and how someone save my life because of their donations.”

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Courtney has also helped organize blood drives, spoken to media and spread awareness in both North Platte and Fremont, where she attends college. Her goal is to collect 200 pledges by June 1st, no small goal considering she is also a full-time Midland University student, education funded in part due to the $60,000 in scholarships she received from Midland at last year’s Miss Nebraska Pageant.

“My career goal is to become a Labor and Delivery Nurse. I love children and babies!” said Courtney. “I may want to work in Children’s Hospital & Medical Center one day. Being a part of the Miss Nebraska Organization has inspired me; I’ve been raising money for them for four years, so why not continue giving back to them when I’m a nurse!”

That smile and passion for life are present everywhere this young woman goes, whether it to be a classroom, a donation site, or to a performance with the award-winning Midland Warriors Dance Team (yeah, Courtney dances, too.)

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“My role model is my dance coach, Katie Speicher,” said Courtney. “She came into a team that had just won the NAIA National Championships for 2017, moving from California to Nebraska just to coach a team like us. She has had her battles throughout the year but has overcome them. I am so proud of her for everything she has accomplished and she is someone I truly look up to.”

Now, Courtney is cementing that legacy for herself. She’s building a reputation as a strong woman who never gives up, just like Tina Foehlinger did 17 years ago.

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Photo courtesy Ben Fogletto for Press of Atlantic City

Just months after Tina FINALLY won a local title, she was crowned Miss Nebraska 2001 and then a Top 20 semi-finalist at the Miss America Pageant on national TV.

Colin Powell once said, ‘success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty and persistence.’ Courtney Pelland is hoping to find the meaning of that message early this summer.

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Photo courtesy Kamie Stephen Photography

“Success to me is when you achieve your personal dreams and goals,” said Courtney. “Of course, I would love to win, but in all I want to walk away with a whole new group of best friends through an amazing organization. I would love to make Top 8; I’ve been working really hard and I hope I can achieve that.”

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To follow Miss Nebraska State Fair Courtney Pelland on Facebook, click here.

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COURTNEY?

CLICK HERE * 2017 * College Ready

CLICK HERE * 2016 * Everyday America

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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 Harvest Moon Festival’s Outstanding Teen Jade Vak

NEXT.. Miss Twin River’s Outstanding Teen Rachel Young

Glass Half Full

I’d like you to meet my friend, Chinh.

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Chinh is one of our lead reporters here at KETV. ¬†She is tenacious, driven, she runs at 100%¬†non-stop to use every waking moment to her advantage. ¬†She is also bubbly, kind, and one of the most caring people I have ever met. ¬†A few days before Mother’s Day, Chinh gave me M&M’s (have I mentioned how much I love treats!?!?) and a card with the sweetest message EVER. ¬†No matter what terrible story she’s covered that day or what she’s facing, she is always upbeat and POSITIVE. ¬†That’s terrific; factor in Chinh’s childhood and it’s hands down¬†INSPIRING.

Chinh Doan’s father fought for the South Vietnamese Army during the war. ¬†So did her mother’s first husband. ¬†Both faced persecution by North Vietnames soldiers once the war ended, ripping their marriages and families apart. ¬†They¬†survived poverty,¬†¬†POW camps, oppression, and hoped to start over when they found each other. ¬†They married, and¬†Chinh was born on Christmas Day 1989. ¬†Chinh treasures early memories like¬†riding on the front of her father’s bicycle in urban Vietnam as a toddler, but life was hard, very hard. ¬†When the United States offered an opportunity for POW’s like Chinh’s father to¬†move, the family was thrilled, until they learned only Chinh and her father would be allowed to move. ¬†Once again, a family was torn apart, this time, so their little girl would have a chance at the American Dream.

Chinh’s father found a job as a janitor at an Oklahoma City newspaper; Chinh poured over every article her father brought home, and learned English by watching local news every night. ¬†17 years later, just 6 days before she received her journalism degree¬†as “Outstanding Senior” from the University of Oklahoma, Chinh’s mom moved to the United States.

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CLICK HERE to read more of Chinh’s story in her own words, published by the Asian American News last year.

Chinh and Tu are two of the happiest, most grateful people I have ever met. ¬†They emit sheer joy.. and after every event in their presence, you leave feeling more optimistic about.. well, EVERYTHING! ¬†PROOF of the power of positivity. ¬†Or as teenager Emma Young likes to call it, ‘Positivity In The Face Of Negativity.”

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“I was born with a condition called Strabismus, which is where the eyes cross,” Emma told me recently. ¬†“I have had issues off and on with being bullied for years. ¬†I had also had close firends who have gone through depression and at times, have contemplated suicide. ¬†My platform encourages being kind to everyone, because you never know what people are really going through.”

Emma, a North Platte, Nebraska native, had two constants in her life as a young child.. eye surgeries to fix her condition, and the Miss Nebraska Pageant, which Emma’s family has been involved for years.

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“I had the opportunity to be in the Little Sisters program,” said Emma, shown above in the 2009 pageant with her Big Sister, titleholder Jessica Brock. ¬†“I think I was hooked then! ¬†I love being on stage, and the whole week was glamorous and exciting!”

But at a very early age, Emma also recognized the responsibilities of a crown and sash off stage, through volunteering and service to others.

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When she became Miss Platte River’s Outstanding Teen 2016, Emma completely devoted herself to community.

“I was able to help girls select prom dresses and formals through a Lincoln County Child Abuse Prevention Council event, Dresses for a Cause. ¬†In turn, I was invited to serve on their Youth Council Board,” said Emma. ¬†“Also, through this organization, I met a great 5th grade boy who is alsot trying to spread kindness by purchasing Buddy Benches for schools in our community. ¬†I have been able to speak to civic groups for him, to help him raise money to purchase them. ¬†This is an ongoing project!”

Emma also delivered meals on Christmas Day, and volunteered for a recent fundraiser for her school district. ¬†She’s a certified Kiwanis Key Leader, and now serves on the Junior Ambassador Leadership Committee, helping to choose future youth volunteers and projects for the group. ¬†She’s a frequent visitor to schools to talk about¬†positivity in both words and action.

“Something fun I have been able to do is crete ‘Kindness Jars’ and have students make these when I speak to them,” said Emma. ¬†“Each jar is decorated by the student and inside they put actions they can do to show kindness to others. ¬†Then later, they can pull an act of kindness from their jar and do it!”

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One of Emma’s favorite places to volunteer is her local hospital, where she’s been giving back¬†ever since those surgeries as a small child.

“I am a Junior Volunteer at Great Plains Health (our local hospital), 5 hours each week in the Emergency Room,” ¬†I love being able to help people feel more comfortable about being in a stressful situation. ¬†I have always watned to be a doctor. ¬†When I was 3 years old, I asked my parents for a toy crash cart for Christmas! ¬†Being a volunteer at the hospital has allowed me to experience many aspects of the medical field. ¬†The only way I will miss going to the hospital to volunteer is if I am sick!”

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Emma’s efforts have not gone unnotice, featured by the North Platte Telegraph in March for all of her hard work. ¬†(Click here to read Kamie Stephen’s article!)

All of that time volunteering comes in addition to school and North Platte High activities, including National Honor Society (Emma’s the Publicity Chairman), Key Club (she’s Editor), Speech and Debate, Orchestra, Concert Choir and Drama. ¬†Emma also spends several hours a week dancing, taking lessons since the age of 7.

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A true testament that Emma is living what she preaches come in her own answer, when asked WHY she does all this??

“Competing in the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant has given me the opportunity to make connections that I may not have had, if I had not been competing,” said Emma. ¬†“In setting up appearances and speaking about my platform, I had had to contact promiment leaders in my community. ¬†Every one of them has been gracious and kind. ¬†I have also made some great friends in the other contestants. ¬†We encourage each other to be the best we can be. ¬†I think competing has also taught me to be resilient and to never give up. ¬†I am so grateful that I have this opportunity and have chosen to follow this path. ¬†It is not easy, but the rewards, both big and small, are worth every ounce of effort I have put into it.”

How often do we hear from people who feel entitled to what they believe BELONGS to them? ¬†Things they think they should just HAVE, that it’s their RIGHT? ¬†And how often do we witness, in others and in ourselves, instant and toxic negativity when we don’t get what we feel should just happen?

Not from Chinh.  No entitlement.  No complaining.  Never even a frown or a negative word.  In addition to her full-time career at KETV, Chinh is also a CONSTANT presence in the Omaha area, a member of Junior League and the Omaha Press Club, even recognized as one of 10 Outstanding Young Omahans in 2015.

They¬†are separated by age, distance and backgrounds, but much of the same holds true for Emma. ¬†No talk of what she deserves, no complaining about the hand life dealt her. ¬†Just hard work, a focus on others, and a CONSTANT smile. ¬†To people like Emma and Chinh it’s a no brainer–the glass is ALWAYS half full. ¬†And Emma Young is ready to take that optimistic attitude and message across the state¬†as Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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“The Nebraska Tourism Board has a new slogan, Nebraska Nice,” said Emma. ¬†“I feel that should describe every Miss Nebraska contestant, Miss or Teen. ¬†I know there were, and still are, many times I wished that someone would say something nice to me, just to make me feel better. ¬†I try to be that person now, because I know how much it means.”

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CLICK EACH LINK to follow Miss¬†Platte River’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Emma Young

on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter.  You can also email Emma for appearances and events at missplatteriversot@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 Scotts Bluff County’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Carsyn Long!

NEXT.. Miss Western Nebraska 2016 Marie Allison

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!