Thank you so much for being a part of my journey to Miss America 2011! Your support and love from here forward has become so important to me, and I am forever grateful to have you all in my life! The past few weeks have been a whirlwind and each day has brought new challenges. But, just as I promised the Miss Delaware Board of Directors, and judges- I will not let a single day go to waste.
The week prior to Miss Delaware I had flown to New Orleans, LA to accept one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Awards from the U.S. Jaycees. I could not think of a better way to begin my journey to Miss Delaware, than to experience pieces of the job firsthand. I met some very important, and inspirational people while there, and will never be the same woman I was, prior to this honor. In my personal journal, I wrote, "I was not only humbled to be standing among the greatest young adults in the country- but I was empowered. I have been reminded of the change just one person can make and I am even more excited and ready to become Miss Delaware." Quite the premonition ;) Only one other Delawarean has received this award and that is our nation's Vice President, Joe Biden. Most of the honorees from the past were honored prior to their well-known success, and so the TOYA award is often given to people who have later come to be very prominent people. I have quite a legacy to live up to! No pressure :)
The week of the Miss Delaware pageant is something I will surely not forget. And the moment my name was called as the new Miss Delaware 2010, I felt deep in my heart that my life would never be the same. Already, I have felt the changes come to fruition and I am thankful to God for this opportunity and this blessing. I am so proud of each of the girls, and seeing their faces when my name was called on the video meant the world to me. Because I could sense their happiness for me. I was honored to share the stage with every one of them, and I pray they decide to return to Miss Delaware next year, if that is their dream. Otherwise, I hope they continue on toward whatever goal they have in mind!
The days following my coronation were filled with excitement, relaxation and much love. I was interviewed on WMDT in Salisbury, and the News Journal. My favorite appearance that week was the Delmarva Chicken Festival! I ate some delicious fried chicken from the world's largest frying pan and met Congressman Mike Castle among other politicians!
That weekend, I celebrated my one week anniversary by supporting my MAO sisters at the Miss New Jersey Pageant. Ashleigh did an incredible job, and I cannot wait to get to know her better! Being an old child, has made this experience all the more enjoyable for me, because I have adopted many new sisters along the way. The Miss Delaware and Miss America Organizations feel much like an elite sorority or sisterhood, and I am lucky to be a part of that.
Father's Day I went to church with my family, and was greeted by the excitement of my fellow congregants! We then volunteered as a family at the "Dad and Me Archery" Event for 4-H in Dover where I spoke on the importance of being grateful of our families and I made a homemade dessert with the kids! Mmm! I visited my second and third fathers, Mr. Gillis and Mr. Gravatt to let them know how much I appreciate their love, even though I am not their real daughter! A tradition in my family is to do a father-daughter, or mother-daughter date the evening of their special days. So my father chose to see "Marmaduke" in theatres and enjoy a large popcorn with extra butter!
On June 22nd I interviewed with Gwen Guerke from the Milford Chronicle, worked out at the gym, and attended the Miss Delaware at the Races Fundraiser at Harrington Raceway and Casino! A special thank you to Chuck Ivins for putting together such a lovely evening. I had a great time catching up with some of my fellow contestants and board members. It was that night, that it really set in to me---- I am Miss Delaware!!! I presented the winning rider and horse with a beautiful blanket- and the rider happened to be a Marymount University Alumni! I promise I had nothing to do with it! ;)
The next morning I was interview on WHYY in Wilmington and had my first on-camera interview where I took off the wig! When asked if I was willing to do this, I knew this was an opportunity to show the world that any woman can be Miss Delaware or Miss America with hard work and belief in herself. I know that I can be a great Miss Delaware, with hair or without, and so as I travel the state with the wig this year, I know that by taking it off at select appearances I will have a great impact on other people. And I pray that by me, showing and loving who I truly am, someone else may feel comfortable to do the same.
On that evening of June 23rd I was with my third family, the Gravatt's, and received a call saying I was featured in USA Today! I had not been interviewed for an article with them and so I was in disbelief. Mrs. Gravatt and my best friend, Julie insisted we hop in the car and find a paper right away! Minutes later, we were running into the two nearest stores, finally finding the paper at our second stop. Mrs. Gravatt attacked the newspaper the second her hands made contact, and flipped through page after page until finally.... there I was!!! Their excitement for me, and their love as I got emotional, staring at my first piece of national coverage meant the world to me. I will not soon forget that day, nor the way I felt reading the small article. At that moment, I knew great things were coming and that my platform would finally be heard on a national scale!
Thank you all for following me on my journey to Miss America. I will need your support now, more than ever as I reach for my lifelong dream. Please stay tuned for the update of the weeks between then and now!
Love you all!
Your Miss Delaware,