Saturday, August 2nd, I was crowned the new Miss Teen International! I can’t begin to express just how humbled, honored and excited I am about my year of service! I want to extend a special thank you to Ms. Mary, Mr. Mel, and the entire International System for entrusting me with this national title. Over the next year I will be sharing my journey with you, but first I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about myself!
I am 17 years old. I will be a senior at the historic Little Rock Central High School. My nickname is Bear Bear. I was born January 21, 1997, only 14 short months after my oldest sister, Madison. She just graduated and is leaving for college next week. My little sister, Payton, will be a freshman in high school. Being one of 3 girls is something only sisters can truly understand. We fight and fuss as much as we get along, but having these two best friends that know all about me and love me anyway is one of the greatest blessings in my life. My mom, Karyn, is an elementary school Gifted and Talented teacher. My dad, Keith, is a mechanical engineer and the manager of our family business. In a later post I will tell you lots more about my wonderful family.
I have always loved to dress up. It is hard to find a picture of me before I started pre-school when I wasn’t in some kind of costume! I was the biggest Barney fan on the planet. I saw him live in concert twice! In elementary school I had some incredible teachers that instilled in me a love for reading. The Harry Potter series still one of my all-time favorites to date. I am absolutely crazy about puppies. I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel name Alex. I might be a little biased but I think he is the CUTEST!
My family has always been very active. As a child I played tennis, golf, soccer, and basketball. I took gymnastics and started dancing at age 3. I am thankful for this introduction to physical activity at an early age because it taught me healthy habits that will last a lifetime. In middle school I tried to balance studying, a social life, soccer, cheerleading and dance, but sadly realized there wasn’t enough time for everything. I chose to pursue dancing and was a member of a competitive dance team for many years. My dance family members at Rock City Dance Center have been some of my biggest supporters and fans. Although I am not currently on the team, I take technique classes at my studio weekly. It is one of the ways I stay active now and I can’t imagine where I would be without the love and encouragement of my dance teachers!!!
Entering high school brought many new opportunities for growth and change. I eagerly began participating in clubs and organizations as a way to plug in and make a difference in my school and community. My sophomore year I was chosen to represent my school at the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership Seminar. I had no idea at the time that this three day event would set me on an unexpected path. The things I learned at HOBY about leadership and service literally changed my life. I knew from that moment on that I would be used to help inspire my peers to find ways we can make life a little better for those around us. I have volunteered many places over the past few years but spending time at the Miracle League with my “buddies,” attending elementary school events and making classroom visits to inspire healthy lifestyle choices, and my internship with the American Heart Association have been some of my favorites. The children, leaders, and athletes I’ve met will forever hold a special place in my heart.
There are several things that most people don’t know about me. First, I am a certified scuba diver. My older sister and I were pushed to the depths of the sea by my dad. Ha! Not really, but we did get scuba diving lessons for Christmas one year so we could go on underwater adventures and explore with him. I don’t get to go often but when I do, I love it! I also LOVE drama. No, not the kind of drama you’re thinking of! I try to avoid “girl drama” at all costs but you can’t keep me away from a good play, musical, or production! I’ve never seen one I didn’t like, but I think Wicked will forever be my favorite. I was made up like Elphaba by an official Wicked makeup artist when she visited my drama class at school last year. It was awesome!!! My friends were green with envy.
I have so much more to share but there will be plenty of time for that later. As I reflect on where I’ve been and anticipate where I am going I can’t help but smile and be thankful. I am looking forward to a year full of appearances, service, and lasting memories. Let’s join together and inspire one another to be more than we thought we could ever be!
Whatever you believe in, believe in it all the way!