Kaylee Brook McCollum

Miss Amory’s Outstanding Teen

Hometown:    Amory, MS

Hobbies:        Cheerleading, horseback riding, tumbling, singing, volleyball

School:           Amory High School

Talent:            Singing

Platform:        Take A Bite Out of Hunger

What makes you special and unique? My belief in GOD is what makes me a unique and special individual.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? Once a person meets me, they realize that kindness is the one trait that I possess that is not visual with the eyes.

Best advice you have ever received?  The best advice given to me is to “look for the positive aspects in any situations to make conquering those rough situations easier”.

What can’t you live without?  I cannot live without the love from my family and friends.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?  My biggest guilty pleasure is sour foods, such as pickles.

What is your favorite movie genre and why?  My favorite movie genre is love stories.  I like a good love story because it is a reflection of what I expect my own love story to be.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?  In ten years, I plan to be a pediatric nurse practitioner.  My love for babies has caused an intense desire within to seek a profession which allows me to take care of them.

Most valuable lesson learned?  The most valuable lesson that I have learned thus far in life is to think before you speak.  Words can be hurtful.  You cannot rewind and erase things that have been said out of your mouth.  It is important to think about what you are about to say before you say it.  You should be mindful and not hurt anyone with your own words.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why?  The most valued role model in my life is Mrs. Traci Huguley.  She is my pastor’s wife.  She is a very godly woman who displays a positive attitude in any situation.  A giving heart is what makes her a good leader in our church.  If there is one person I could be like it would be her.

What motivates you?   I love to help others, whether it be a shoulder for someone to cry on or that person who goes out on a limb to get someone to show their support for their community through a simple donation.  The outcomes in the end are what give me the motivation to be who I am.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title?  This year I held my first food drive for my community.  I had no goal for this event but in the end I collected 2373 pounds of food over one month’s time (1873 pounds was collected one Saturday at the actual drive and the remaining was collected at different locations in our town within the month).  I have been told that this was the biggest food drive anyone had done in our town at one given moment in time.

Best compliment you have ever received?  “What a big heart you have” is a compliment that I cherish.  Kindness is important in a world with such hatred.

Secret wish or dream?  My dream is to become a model and travel with my modeling.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?  I came to school one day dressed like I was headed to a fashion show.  I wore my skinny jeans, my wedged heels, my hair was perfect as well as my make-up.  As I walked down the hallway to the gym, I slipped on something in the floor.  My legs began to shake and my 5’9” body began to plummet to the floor.  Luckily, my best friend was in-front of me to cushion my body before it hit the floor.  My friend thought the school was having an evacuation and that I somehow didn’t see her and was running over her.  She began to scream.  Students began coming out of their classrooms to see what had happened only to find me lying in the floor.  That is a day I will never forget.  Here I was a freshman and all the students were watching me pick myself up out of the floor.

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you?  My one fear in life is that I am afraid of high places.  But if I could do one thing out of character for me it would be bungee jumping.

What is your super power?  My super power is the power of healing.  I have the power to heal emotional wounds.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi Program? I witness the true heart of my community through the many donations to fight hunger from people who expected nothing in return for their gifts.  I feel that I showed people how we as a community can fight this battle we have with hunger.

Describe yourself in one word.   Funny is how I describe myself.

A Fun Family Fact?  In our small town of Amory, the Beta Sigma Phi hosts a festival known as the “Railroad Festival”, which includes southern type foods (anything fried), rides, arts and crafts, and live music.  My family is accustomed to spending that one weekend together enjoying our Amory Railroad Festival.  We do face paintings and enjoy the rides, and of course we eat any and everything they are serving.

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

My name is Kaylee Brooke McCollum.  Being one of four siblings is often a struggle especially when we are all females.  My parents Dana McCollum and Todd McCollum are very influential in my life.  They have taught me and my sisters that respect, kindness, honesty, compassion and generosity are values that will keep us from negativity in society.  I am a sophomore at Amory High School and an active member of the youth program at Cornerstone Family Fellowship Church in Amory.  In 2014 at the age of 14, I volunteered to be a youth counselor at our church’s children’s retreat.  It was at this retreat that I realized how important it is to listen to these children, show them kindness and compassion and be mentors to them.

At the age of 13, I began to volunteer at our local food pantry.  I witnessed firsthand what hunger was.  Many people lined the streets before the pantry opened to receive their weekly supply of food.  I had heard of hunger and people being desperate for food but I did not realize what hunger issues we were dealing with in our country.  After volunteering at our food pantry, I realized that I am living in a state with the worst hunger issues and that there is a great need for assistance in my own home county, Monroe County, Mississippi.

Right after the Thanksgiving, I planned and organized a food drive known to our community as DUMP HUNGER.  My goal was set at one ton.  A tree cutting service donated the use of the dump truck and I advertised my event on social media.  Parking space for the dump truck was provided by Piggly Wiggly in my town.  I also set up food boxes throughout my home town for people who weren’t able to attend my event.  My event was scheduled on December 12 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.  Non-perishable items from my event were donated to our local food pantry.  On December 21, 2015 our final weight from items donated totaled 2373 pounds.  I had hit my goal of one ton.

My favorite activities are watching Netflix while eating sour foods.  I love watching the Miss Mississippi and Miss America Pageant with my sisters.  I have dreams of becoming Miss Mississippi and using my platform to help stop hunger in our state.  To become Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen would be such an honor.  It will allow me the opportunity to make a difference in teens among our state, to show them the importance of giving their time to things they believe in such as hunger.

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

In 2013, at the age of 13 years old, I began volunteering at the Amory Food Pantry to earn my community service hours for our high school graduation in 2018.  I chose the food pantry as my community service project simply because my mother knew the director.  My first visit to the food pantry was a bit overwhelming.  I witnessed firsthand the need for food in our community.  Families were unable to meet their basic human needs for food.  I just couldn’t imagine not being able to just eat whatever you wanted to eat.  Volunteering was an eye opening experience for me.  I witnessed hunger at its best.  This began my journey to TAKE A BITE OUT OF HUNGER.

Imagine one night of no food.  Now imagine a child going without food.  If that doesn’t motivate a person to help with hunger in our state I don’t know what will.  As I loaded bags with groceries from our local food pantry, I thought about each individual that food was going to feed even though I never saw a face I thought about that person.  I couldn’t sleep at night from the worry about people going without food.  The thought of children with no food broke my heart.

TAKE A BITE OUT OF HUNGER became a platform that I feel very passionate about.  As Miss Amory’s Outstanding Teen, I planned and organized a food drive for our local food pantry.  B & H Tree Service donated the use of a dump truck and I had permission to park it at a local grocery store.  I gave my event a name (DUMP HUNGER) and advertised it through social media.  Not only was it a way to remind people of the need for donations as they were shopping but the size of the truck gave them the motivation to fill it to capacity.  I set my goal for one ton and upon completion of my event the total weight of all donations was 2373 pounds.

My goal is to conduct regular food collection campaigns and use my role as Miss Amory’s Outstanding Teen to influence people to contribute.  I feel that the problem of hunger is bigger than I can repair, but with the proper education about hunger in our communities in Mississippi I feel I can influence other people to be as passionate as I am about local hunger and it’s causes.