Ella Frances Parker

Miss Guntown

Hometown:   Saltillo, MS

Scholastic Ambition:   Receive a B.S. in Biology from the University of MS and a M.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Hawaii

Scholastic Honors:   Honor Roll, National Junior Beta, Gifted Art Program, District Science Fair Finalist, Gumtree Art Award

Talent:    Vocal and dance/tumbling performance to “Flashlight”

Platform:   “You Matter, 100%” – International Anti-Bullying Campaign

 What makes you special and unique? Each one of us is of unique value, but what makes me genuine is my determination to always be my true self and not what anyone else asks or expects me to be.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I am learning how to throw knives with my dad as a form of stress-relief and to improve my patience, and I am becoming pretty accurate!

Best advice you have ever received? The most heartfelt and consistent advice that I have ever received is that the only person you complete with for any goal is yourself, and self-discipline is the shortest path between where you are and where you want to be!

What can’t you live without?    My yorkie, Max!  His actions and love always reflect his priorities, which are loving me unconditionally.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?  I feel no shame in indulging in a long nap!  If only I could get back all of the napping hours that my younger self refused to take!!

What is your favorite movie genre and why? I love a romantic action film that allows me to enjoy a fairytale plot where the ideal couple overcome most obstacles to find “true love”.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I hope to be studying a huge pod of dolphins off the shores of Hawaii as a marine biologist.

Most valuable lesson learned? I have learned to not allow what I want right now to distract me from what I want most!  Patience, planning and perseverance are required to win the long game.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why?   I am my best role model because every day is a new opportunity to be a better version of myself, and if I want to be admired and trusted by others in life – first I have to admire myself.

What motivates you?   I am motivated by adversity and the chance to turn challenges into opportunities.  I like to view a test as an opportunity to show what I know and can do instead of a test of chance to fail.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? Competing on a national stage as a member of my high school’s co-ed cheer squad at a universal cheerleading association’s national championship has been the highlight of my life.

Best compliment you have ever received? I was told that I tumble “like a boy”, because I am incredibly strong and powerful, even though I am so petite!

Secret wish or dream? I wish to have had the experience of knowing each of my grandparents in this lifetime and to have had a grandfather to tell me stories and to just know what that type of love must be like.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? Once of my friend’s father is a sports celebrity, and the first time that I even met him, my friend and I were dancing and singing in front of his bathroom mirrors when he walked in and introduced himself!

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? I have always wanted to try the sport of volleyball, although I feel like being tall is an advantage to the sport.  Since I am not very tall, it would be fun and challenging!

What is your super power? The ability to find common ground and friendship with so many different people allows me to never truly meet a stranger! My genuineness and the ability to instantly connect with others is like, “POW!

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? I have learned to find my goals and to start really chasing them through the hard work and sacrifice required to complete in the Miss Mississippi Outstanding Teen Pageant. I have learned to be my own role model!

Describe yourself in one word. Genuine

A Fun Family Fact? Whenever my parents or grandparents got me or my brothers any type of gift, and I asked or they asked what they had purchased for us, they always said a “Purple Loodle Laddle!”

I am a fourteen year old resident of Saltillo, MS and a freshman at Saltillo High School where I am a member of the varsity co-ed cheer squad, Saltillo baseball team Diamond Girls, National Junior Beta Club, Gifted Art Program, and the Honor Roll.  Upon graduation from high school, I plan to attend the University of Mississippi and to become a member of the Ole Miss Co-ed Cheer Team and obtain a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology.  Because of my love of life and all of its creatures, I plan to pursue graduate studies at the University of Hawaii in Marine Biology.

I reflect a varied personality including ambition, generosity and thoughtfulness.  When I am not completing my education, you will find me cheering for my Tiger football team, in voice, dance or tumbling classes, throwing knives at targets with my father, creating works of art with my mother, or celebrating my platform, “You Matter, 100%!”  My opportunity to affect change is centered around an international support movement promoting love, education, and transformation for victims of bullying.  My specific focus on establishing real support groups for children and teens alike, led to my personal creation of “Buddy Bands”, electric blue bracelets spelling out my message, “Be A Buddy, Not A Bully”.

It was through my platform and personal experience with bullying that I realize how blessed I am to have a network of family and friends that push me toward my commitments to helping others.  Being able to emphasize with other people’s struggles from a true perspective makes me even more determined to live out my commitments.  I understand that in order for me to live my best life, my commitments should be shown and not said, worked for an not just wanted, and empowering and not punishing.

Statistics have shown that 57% of bullying situations case when a peer intervenes on behalf of a student being bullied.  My personal experience with being bullied did not fall within that 57% of circumstances, and I vividly remember experiencing the feeling of hopelessness and despair wash over me like it was yesterday.  Being bullied as a seventh grade student was the worst of times, but it also taught me the power of choice.  To take a bold step of faith, control how I responded to my critics and embrace optimism was something I would have to learn to do, every day.  By promoting and sharing the change that my platform, “You Matter, 100%!” offers to.