Miss Dixie’s Outstanding Teen
Hometown: Nettleton, MS
Hobbies: Competitive Dance, competing in pageants, going shopping, doing makeup.
School: Liberty University Online Academy
Scholastic Ambition: Attend Mississippi State University, majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Theater.
Scholastic Honors: A and B honor roll throughout scholastic career; Accepted into Liberty University Online Academy; Citizenship Award; Received perfect scores in English, Spelling and Bible; Nominated for the Governor’s Giver Award.
Talent: Jazz dance
Platform: Caring for Young Caregivers
What makes you special and unique? Being a young caregiver makes me special. My step father has Huntington’s disease and I must help with his daily care. This isn’t a setback; it has taught me to be strong and live my life to the fullest.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? People always assume my mom teaches me, when I tell them I am homeschooled. I attend Liberty University Online Academy. It is a homeschooling program done through the internet.
Best advice you have ever received? I participated in five preliminaries before I won my title, Miss Dixie’s Outstanding Teen. Many people told me to continue to work hard and nor give up. I took this advice and look at me now.
What can’t you live without? I can’t live without competitive dance. I can’t explain in words how much fun it is to perform on stage. I can perform my heart out on stage and show my passion for dance with my teammates.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure? I love junk food but my favorite is anything chocolate.
What is your favorite movie genre and why? Comedy and my favorite all time movie is Legally Blonde. I love anything that makes me laugh. I think we all need laughter in our lives.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I will be 23, and I plan to be well on my way to graduating from Mississippi State University. Maybe with a little luck, my graduation will be delayed a few years because I’ve got to live out my dream of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Most valuable lesson learned? I have learned not to take my health for granted. Huntington’s disease is slowly taking away my step father’s independence. At the age of 33, he’s had to stop working and can no longer drive. Soon I will be learning to drive and because of watching my stepfather endure these losses, I will not take driving or anything else for granted.
Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? I admire Audrey Hepburn as my role model. Not only was she a great actress and dancer, she devoted her life to helping children around the world. I will have lived a successful life if someone can say that about me.
What motivates you? I am proud of the person I have become but I strive to improve myself daily. I am motivated by improvement. My goal is to be a better person than I was yesterday.
Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? This past year, during my dance competition season, I received a platinum award. I placed 1st in both Hip Hop and Musical Theater divisions, which placed me in the top ten among all dance categories.
Best compliment you have ever received? I have been told more than once that I am as skilled as a professional makeup artist. I love making people feel pretty.
Secret wish or dream? I am fascinated by sloths. My dream is to one day visit the sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica.
What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? During a performance at a local festival, I fell while performing a jazz solo. I felt really embarrassed but I finished the dance.
What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? Being late! I don’t like being late. Plus, having two parents who are USAF veterans, we are always early. We are not on time, unless we arrive 20 minutes early.
What is your super power? My super power is making people laugh. I am always telling funny or corny jokes. I just love seeing people happy.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi Program? Perseverance. I could have given up while competing during each preliminary I didn’t win. I am grateful I didn’t give up, because I grew as a person through each pageant. So, in hindsight, I wouldn’t change a thing and I am grateful to be Miss Dixie’s Outstanding Teen.
Describe yourself in one word. Motivated.
A Fun Family Fact? We have lived across the United States. In South Dakota, my parents, served in the United States Air Force. This is where they met and later had me. At 3 years old, my new home became Nettleton, Mississippi. I have also been blessed to spend a lot of time in Texas, as my dad is from there.
Please write a short essay describing yourself to the people viewing the website. Let people know who you really are.
I have three words that I use to describe myself to others. Grateful, Joyful Giver. I always make sure to look on the bright side of things because we only have one life to live. I love to make people laugh. In fact, it is my goal to try to at least make one person laugh each day. For me, the best feeling in the world is when you make someone laugh.
I was taught from a very early age, the love of giving gifts. A tradition passed down from my Great Grandmother. She always said, give what you can, because God uses us to give blessings to people in need of encouragement. The gifts or cards I give are meant to inspire, encourage, and give hope. This is the reason I created the encouragement care package. I wanted to do something for young caregivers like myself. It will contain items to give its young caregiver recipient joy, affirmation, and courage as they do their important work of caring for their loved ones.
Please write a short essay explaining your passion for your platform and your stance on the subject.
My platform is Caring for Young Caregivers. When we hear of a family affected by a disease or sickness, we usually consider the spouse, significant other, or parents who may be acting as a caregiver to the family member in need. However, very few think of the young family members who may also be acting as additional or primary caregivers.
My stepfather, Timothy was diagnosed 2 years ago, with Huntington’s disease. This terrible rare disease attacks the motor skills, memory, and senses. Currently, there is no known cure and it will eventually take my step father’s life.
At diagnosis, when his life changed, my life changed as well. I became a young caregiver. While processing my own life change, I had no idea how to help him. There is very little support out there for young caregivers. I see a great need for a space where young caregivers can share together and care for each other.
Just talking through our feelings of sadness or experiences can help lighten the load of everyday caregiving. I have developed a Facebook group, Caring for Young Caregivers, where we will be able to connect with each other, share helpful information about diseases, self-care, and ways to care for our loved ones.