Bella Grace Laird

Miss Magnolia’s Outstanding Teen

Hometown: Blue Springs, MS

Hobbies: Singing, Band, Bowling, Reading

School: East Union Attendance Center

Scholastic Ambition: To attend Ole Miss and earn a bachelors in English and get a JD from Ole Miss Law School

Scholastic Honors: Beta Club, 3.9 GPA, Advanced on State tests in English 2, Algebra and Biology

Talent: Vocal performance of Somewhere over the Rainbow

Platform: Promoting and Increasing Alzheimer’s Awareness

What makes you special and unique? I feel that I am compassionate and have empathy for what others are dealing with.  My sincere love for my fellow man makes me unique.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I am the biggest band geek ever.

Best advice you have ever received? I was once told that no one can ever belittle me and make me feel small without my permission.  Because I was fearfully and wonderfully made by my creator, I was created for His purpose so I should never let someone else dim my light.

What can’t you live without? I could never live without my family.  We are so tight-knit.  Our bond is unbreakable

What is your biggest guilty pleasure? I love Taco Bell and “Toddlers and Tiaras.”

What is your favorite movie genre and why? I have been watching monster movies with my Uncle Mike since I was a little girl.  If the movie has Godzilla, King Kong or dinosaurs, I’m a happy girl.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I’d like to be practicing family law and be a newly-wed.

Most valuable lesson learned? I’ve learned that as long as I’m striving to please God someone else’s opinion of me is none of my business.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? It would be my English teacher, Ms. Sappington.  She’s so caring and loving to each one of her students.  She makes each of us feel as if we are special to her, and she has made me love English and reading even more than I already did.

What motivates you? I know that God has a special plan and purpose for my life.  Seeking His will and purpose is my motivation.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? Since band is so important to me, I think being selected for the NEMDA honors band and being First Chair French Horn player for the Union County Symphonic Band are my greatest achievements.

Best compliment you have ever received? It’s a tie between two.  I was once told that I have an old soul and that I am wise beyond my years.  Also, my momma calls me her rock.  For my rock to say that I am hers is such a wonderful compliment.

Secret wish or dream? I would love to be a model.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? On our way back from the beach, my friends and I decided to drive through Wendy’s.  My Friend’s car broke down, and I had to help push it out of the way in just my swimsuit, cover-up, and flip-flops.

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? I tend to be cautious by nature, but I would dearly love to try skydiving.

What is your super power? My schedule is jam-packed, so I would say that prioritizing is my superpower.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi Program? I learned that if you want something badly enough you must be willing to work hard for it.  I’ve learned that it is okay to lose as long as you learn something from it and you do it with dignity.

Describe yourself in one word. The word I would use to describe myself is passionate.

A Fun Family Fact? My great, great grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian.  There is a diary on display at The Brice’s Cross Road Museum that was written by the minister that married her and my great, great grandfather.  He described her as the most beautiful young woman that he had ever seen.

Please write a short essay describing yourself to the people viewing the website. Let people know who you really are.

My name is Isabella Grace Laird, but please call me Bella or Bella Grace.  I love English, and anything pertaining to the written word.  I am a voracious reader and although I enjoy the “Twilight” series, I am still perturbed at Stephanie Meyer for turning my old-fashioned, unique (at the turn of the millennium, anyway) name into the name du jour a few years later.  I am a 16 year old junior at East Union High School in Blue Springs.  I love all things musical and have been singing at church since the age of four and have been in the cast of two county-wide musical productions, “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Addams Family.”  I am a seven year member of the Union County Band and play the Mellophone and French Horn and am the biggest band geek ever.  I look forward to attending band camp the second week in June each year the way other kids look forward to a week at an amusement park.  Speaking of amusement parks, I am a thrill ride junkie; and I love roller coasters.  I love going on adventures and have an avid curiosity.  Because of this, my favorite TV shows are “Finding Bigfoot” and “River Monsters.”

I love going to church and helping out in my community.  I am the assistant nursery coordinator at my church because I adore little kids, ,I help with my church’s AWANA club when I can, and I love visiting and volunteering at nursing facilities in my area because I am crazy about the elderly.  I love my family, my community, and my friends because they are the biggest part of who I am, and the molders of the woman that I am becoming.  I love living in my small community where almost all of my family resides, and I think familial ties are the most important ones we have in this lifetime.  My fourteen year-old brother Luke and I are being reared by a strong, single mom, and together we are all caring for my Nana who has Alzheimer’s with the help of my extended family which includes great aunts who are surrogate grandmothers to me and my brother.  I love the life that God has given me, and I intend to make the absolute best of it, living a love-filled life that is pleasing to Him.

Please write a short essay explaining your passion for your platform and your stance on the subject.

 My passion for my platform, Raising and Promoting Awareness of Alzheimer’s, actually originates within my own home.  Millions of Americans, including my sweet grandmother, who is the only grandparent I’ve ever really known, are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s each year. I have witnessed the devastating effects this disease inflicts first-hand while aiding my Nana through her terrifying and confusing journey.  It is heartbreaking to watch one of the key roles in my upbringing morph into someone I do not even recognize, and even more tragically, one who does not recognize me.

I chose this platform because I live with the effects of Alzheimer’s every day and have a soft spot in my heart for the patients and the caregivers.  Some days are worse than others for my Nana, making the disease more challenging.  For instance, some days she is extremely happy and talkative, and she is not as confused about what is happening around her.  Then the next day, she might have trouble understanding what people are saying to her, have trouble even getting out of bed, and she might not be willing to talk to anyone.  This is the most challenging side effect because she cannot voice the fear and confusion that she is feeling.  She doesn’t know what is wrong; she just knows that something is.

The purpose of my platform is to reach out to caregivers just like myself who might not receive the tremendous amount of support my Mom and I receive.  I want to encourage others to provide respite care for the caregivers in their families, churches, and communities.  I want to relieve some of the burden that is laid upon the caregiver’s shoulders and let them know that they are never alone.  This disease will, in some way, eventually affect every person in the world.  If not a victim themselves, then it is highly likely that they will aid a person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in some fashion.  If a cure or treatment plan is not found soon, then the state of our beloved senior citizens will continually deteriorate especially as the baby boomers age.  I would like to bring this heart-rending disease to my fellow Americans’ attention so that they can be prepared for what could be in their future, and also so that they too can aid me in being the voice for those suffering from Alzheimer’s.