Helen McDougald

Miss Madison Metro’s Outstanding Teen

Hometown:    Tupelo

Hobbies:        Singing, Dance, Shooting Sports, Cooking, Show Choir, Yoga

School:           Tupelo High School

Scholastic Ambition:  Complete a Master’s Degree in International Business

Scholastic Honors:  Honor Roll; National Jr Beta Club, National Jr Honor Society

Talent:             Vocal

Platform:         Dyslexia Awareness

What makes you special and unique?  I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome in third grade.  Learning to read and retain the material was difficult, but the process has made me very organized and I’ve been able to maintain Honor Roll grades in AP classes.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize?  Most people do not realize how much I love being outdoors, riding ATV’s in the mud.  I’m not the least bit afraid of getting dirty!

Best advice you have ever received?  ‘Be yourself! Everyone else is already taken!’

What can’t you live without?  Concealer and lip-gloss are always in my “go bag”.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?  Red velvet cake is one of my specialties.  I love to bake!  I started selling cakes when I was 12.  In my family, you learn to cook before you start school.

What is your favorite movie genre and why?  I love action movies.  My favorite movies are the Daniel Craig versions of the James Bond movies.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?  I will be finishing my Master’s Degree in International Business.

Most valuable lesson learned?  Active listening is the most valuable skill in life.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why?  My Dad is a wonderful role model because he is intelligent and respected.  He always practices the Golden Rule.

What motivates you?  Competition is my greatest motivator.  I always want to do my best.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title?  Overcoming Dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome is my greatest accomplishment.  I now host an annual benefit pageant for Regional Rehab of Tupelo called ‘Derby Divas’ which is a fundraiser for children with Dyslexia.

Best compliment you have ever received?  The community leaders and educators I have spoken with about Dyslexia and my benefit pageant, Derby Divas, have all told me my confidence is my best trait.

Secret wish or dream?  I dream about being Princess Aurora who is Sleeping Beauty, at Disney World.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?  I love dancing and I’m good at it now, but when I was young I did not have rhythm.  The videos are embarrassing.

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? I don’t love tight spaces but I think I would like to scuba dive.

What is your super power?  I can smile in the face of adversity or stress.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi Program?  I have always volunteered. The Miss Mississippi Program has shown me how much young women give back to the community through their dedication and commitment in hours of service and funds raised. While I have always volunteered I now know I am part of an incredible group of intelligent beautiful young women who are making a big difference!

Describe yourself in one word.  Confident

A Fun Family Fact?  My family tree includes some real pirates!

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

I am an honor student at Tupelo High School and a member of the Synergy Show Choir. I love to dance and have studied ballet, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary. Dance is my escape and my creative outlet. I enjoy singing and love to entertain. Learning to sing and dance at the same time this year in show choir has been interesting and have learned so much about the physics of singing. It has taught me many things about show design and how songs and vocalist have to adjust for the dance moves required and the acoustics of the stage and theater. Being part of a team dynamic has been very rewarding!

Please write a short essay (2 or 3 paragraphs) explaining your passion for your platform and your stance on the subject.

My platform is Dyslexia Awareness. As an active member of my community, I have partnered with the Regional Rehabilitation of Tupelo in my ‘Derby Diva’ Pageant. This pageant is a fundraiser for the Dyslexia Program at Regional Rehabilitation of Tupelo. Each contestant learns new skills and gains confidence through her participation and every ‘Diva’ wins a crown for their efforts. The first place winners will represent the pageant at the annual Derby Day Fundraiser Regional Rehab holds in May of each year. I chose publicizing Dyslexia as an issue because of my own experiences before and after I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. We need to recognize and assist these children and encourage them to believe in themselves and their abilities, to ignore what others might say about them and trust in themselves.