Ava Elizabeth PartridgeMiss Pontotoc Ridge
Scholastic Ambition: To obtain a bachelor degree in marketing with a minor in dance training.
Scholastic Honors: Duke TIP program; National Beta Honor Society; National Spanish Honor Society; National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS)
Platform: Dance to Express
What makes you special and unique? I am always the most positive person in the room! I write in my thankful journal daily and this helps me focus on all of the positive things in my life!
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? People may not realize that I used to be very shy. Thanks to dance, I learned to express myself in front of large crowds and am now comfortable meeting and talking with new people.
Best advice you have ever received? My parents have taught me to never give up. No matter what obstacles and challenges I face, their encouragement helps me pursue my dreams.
What can’t you live without? Dance, of course. And mustard – I even eat it on my chicken
What is your biggest guilty pleasure? Dance, of course. And mustard – I even eat it on my chicken!
What is your favorite movie genre and why? Comedy. I love anything that makes me laugh!
Where do you see yourself in ten years? I hope to one day own and operate a dance studio. My dream is to provide dance access to students of all backgrounds.
Most valuable lesson learned? When I was younger, I once fell learning to do a back- handspring and was too scared to try again for some time. I saw everyone else moving on and learning the skill and knew I had to try again. It taught me to face my fears and to push past obstacles.
Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? My Aunt Carol is my dance teacher and role model. She has fueled my passion for dance. She also teaches me valuable life skills that help me succeed.
What motivates you? I am motivated when I see progress. I love to set goals for myself and work to achieve them. The progress along the way keeps me going.
Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? Winning Overall Highest Scorefor a duet dance at the National Fire and Ice Competition is one of my favorite accomplishments. Seeing my hard work and effort rewarded was a truly meaningful honor.
Best compliment you have ever received? My favorite compliments come from the young dance students I teach. Whether it’s a simple “you’re a good dancer” or “I love your costume,” the sweet words of young students who look up to me remind me how valuable role models are and inspire me to set a good example.
Secret wish or dream? I’d love to be the official taste tester at Baskin Robbins. Can you imagine a better job than being paid to eat ice cream all day?!
What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? My most embarrassing moment happened when I fell out of a cheer stunt during a pep rally. There’s nowhere to hide when you fall in front of the entire school!
What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? Skydiving. I didn’t ride my first roller coaster until two years ago so I don’t see myself finding the courage to jump from a plane even though it would be a memorable experience!
What is your super power? My super power is making other people smile. I truly care about others and love to see that a smile on their face is because of a conversation or an interaction we shared.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? Confidence and authenticity are important skills for any job but they are critical for Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen. By serving as a titleholder, I’ve learned the importance of demonstrating these traits with those around me.
Describe yourself in one word. Determined
A Fun Family Fact? I am a third-generation competitive dancer. It’s in my genes!
I’m Ava Partridge, Miss Pontotoc Ridge’s Outstanding Teen. I am 15 years old and attend Lamar High School in Meridian, MS.
Determined, Dedicated and Dance are three words that accurately describe me! I was in my first dance recital at 11 months old and dance has had a tremendous influence on who I am today. Dance is my passion and favorite past time. Through dance, I have learned to work hard and overcome obstacles, which are skills that help in all areas of my life.
If I’m not dancing, you can find me cheering on the sidelines for my school, volunteering through my social service club, or participating in one of the clubs I belong to at school or my church. I enjoy a variety of activities that allow me to connect with friends and family. I love new experiences and new faces. Competing in the Outstanding Teen program is a dream come true and opportunity to tackle a new adventure!
As a third-generation competitive dancer, I appeared in my first dance recital at 11 months old. Since then, dance has given me confidence, taught me discipline, self-motivation and helped me build friendships. I believe dance is life-changing and opens many doors for the future.
Unfortunately, many children do not have access to dance. Not every family can afford the expenses associated with dance, and most schools do not offer dance education. Because of these limitations, many children will never experience the positive benefits of dance. I created Dance to Express to increase access to dance to underprivileged families and eliminate many of the obstacles mentioned above. I have organized fundraisers, spoken and read to elementary students, taught dance classes to after-school students, mentored children through dance and volunteered with community dance programs. I have used these experiences and opportunities to share my love of dance and inspire others in my community.
Just like competing in MMSOT, I believe dance increases confidence, social skills, stage presence, and physical health. Without dance, I would not be the person I am today. I want to use my voice and title to reinforce positive skills that improve the lives of young people through dance.