Abby Beissel

Miss Pride of the South

Hometown:   Grenada

Scholastic Ambition:   To become a medical doctor and specialize in nephrology

Scholastic Honors:    4.0 GPA; Honor Student; DAR Essay Winner 2016 and Runner Up 2018; Duke Tip ACT Participant; Highest Average in Class Awards

Talent:     Tap Dancing

Platform:   Kindness, Caring, and Kidneys

 What makes you special and unique? I am unique because I don’t settle for average, and I work hard for what I desire most.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? One thing people may not realize when they meet me is that I love to participate in competitive activities.

Best advice you have ever received? When I was younger I was told, “When you’re mad and want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.” This phrase coincides with one of my favorite Bible verses:  “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”- James 1:19-20

What can’t you live without?  I cannot live without my family. They are always there for me through my ups and downs. They are my biggest fans.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?  Oreo thin bites fudge dipped mint crème cookie

What is your favorite movie genre and why? My favorite movie genre is drama. I enjoyed watching The Godfather parts 1, 2, and 3 with my family.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In 10 years I will have just graduated college and will hopefully have been accepted into the University of Mississippi Medical Center to become a physician.

Most valuable lesson learned? Good things do not come easy, and the price of excellence is discipline.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why?   Malala Yousafzai. She is an activist for female education and winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. She inspires me to stand up for what I believe in, and to fight for what is right.

What motivates you?   The fact that I am mentally and physically able to accomplish my dreams motivates me to give 110% all of the time

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? Winning double platinum at the Rainbow National Dance Competition with my tap dance to the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

Best compliment you have ever received? One time I was told that I have a way of making everything I do look so easy!

Secret wish or dream? To play college basketball, preferably at Mississippi State and under Coach Vic Schaefer.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? At one of my recitals they played the uncut version of my song and I had to freestyle for half of my dance. I was so embarrassed in front of all of my friends and family, but all I could do was laugh it off once I got off stage!

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? To swim with sharks would be out of character for me because I am incredibly afraid of the ocean.

What is your super power? With my schedule always being packed, I would say the ability to prioritize and time management is my super power.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? My four point crown and sash has given me the opportunity to meet so meet so many amazing people, and it has also given me the chance to dig deep and find out what community service truly is.

Describe yourself in one word. Reliable

A Fun Family Fact? My dimples are fourth generation. I have them, my dad has them, my great grandmother also had them!

My name is Abigail Grace Beissel, but everyone either calls me Abby or Beissel. I am an eighth grader at Kirk Academy in Grenada, Mississippi. I play a collection of sports and enjoy keeping up a healthy lifestyle.  A few sports that I play are basketball, cheer, dance, barrel racing, and tennis. I have been a dancer for almost twelve years, and I have been competing for ten of those years. Dance is my passion and often how I express myself.  I love to tap because not only do you use your feet, but you also use your brain to remember and perform the correct sounds. This year I have completely fallen in love with basketball, and I enjoy playing junior high and high school ball with my best friends.

Academically, I have always had a 4.0 GPA, and I love school. My seventh grade year I was given the honor of participating in the Duke Talent Identification Program. I have also had the honor of being a DAR Essay winner and a second place recipient this past year. In addition, I have placed first at many local and district science fairs and first in my category at my local reading fair.

I cannot remember a summer in which my family did not plan a trip out of state to visit different parts of America and see our country’s diversity of people and places.  Two years ago my family took a trip to Washington D.C., but we also toured Mount Vernon and Pennsylvania Dutch country to see the Amish.  My family and I have been to many states such as Hawaii where we visited Pearl Harbor; California (my second favorite to Hawaii); the Alamo in Texas; Florida; Colorado, where I tried my hand at snowboarding; Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; North and South Carolinas; Georgia; and a few others.  I plan to attend Mississippi State University and then the University of Mississippi Medical Center where I will study to become a physician. After earning my M.D. I want to continue my dad’s practice of nephrology to help patients with kidney disease who require dialysis.

My platform is called Kindness, Caring, and Kidneys.  Kidney disease is a condition in which the kidneys fail to do their job of cleaning the blood and removing harmful toxins that are produced every day. This disease worsens over time and has no real symptoms until it is too late to do anything about it. The two biggest causes of kidney disease are uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure, accounting for over 90% of all Americans with kidney failure.  Kidney disease affects over 30 million Americans, and about 26,000 of those people are Mississippians.

When kidneys fail, this is called End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).  Invasive dialysis or a kidney transplant are the only treatments to avoid death at this point.  The problems with dialysis are multiple.  From a patient standpoint, dialysis involves a huge commitment of time.  Dialysis consumes around six hours of time per treatment with three treatments per week required for the rest of the patient’s life just to stay alive.  From an American citizen standpoint, ESRD is important because it is the single biggest yearly expenditure for Federal taxpayer-funded Medicare.  Over $50 billion is spent yearly on ESRD, more than on any other disease.  This is the stone around the neck of Medicare that threatens to drown the entire system.

My platform involves teaming up with my local dialysis units on two fronts.  First, for patients already struggling with dialysis treatments, I am providing care packages to hopefully brighten up their day.  Based on talking with patients, the most requested items are blankets, thick socks, and mittens to keep them warm since dialysis drops the body temperature.  I have designed a T-shirt for my platform.  I have been selling these to raise money for these packages and to raise awareness of kidney disease.  In addition, I visit the dialysis units and spend time with the patients since many are lonely during their treatments as family is generally not allowed to be with the patient.

The second part of my platform involves coordinating and hosting screening fairs in the community to identify people with undiagnosed kidney disease, in the hope of detecting it early enough to intervene and avoid progression to ESRD.  We focus on blood pressure checks and urine tests to detect very early disease with referral to a nephrologist if abnormal.  I also have spoken to diabetic patient groups concerning their risk for kidney disease.   I chose my platform because I was always in and out of dialysis units with my dad who is a nephrologist. I hated seeing all of the patients hooked up to machines with nothing but a TV screen and music. I hope that radiating kindness and caring for these patients has helped boost their spirits and made their life on dialysis a little bit easier. My platform is so incredibly important to our state, and it has been a privilege raising awareness for this great cause.