Helen McDougald

Miss Amory

Hometown:  Tupelo

Hobbies:  Singing, Dance, Shooting Sports, Cooking, Show Choir and Yoga

School:  Tupelo High School

Scholastic Ambition:  Complete a Bachelor’s Degree and become a Pediatric Surgeon

Scholastic Honors:  Honor Roll; Anchor Club, Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, National Jr Beta Club, National Jr Honor Society

Talent: Dance

Platform:  Dyslexia Awareness

What makes you special and unique?

I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome in third grade.  Learning to read and retain the material was difficult, but the process has made me very organized and I’ve been able to maintain Honor Roll grades in AP classes.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? 

Most people do not realize how much I love being outdoors, riding ATV’s in the mud.  I’m not the least bit afraid of getting dirty!

Best advice you have ever received? 

Teddy Roosevelt is my favorite president and I love his quote: “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

What can’t you live without? 

Concealer and lip-gloss are always in my “go bag”.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure? 

Red velvet cake is one of my specialties.  I love to bake!  I started selling cakes when I was 12.  In my family, you learn to cook before you start school.

What is your favorite movie genre and why? 

I love action movies.  My favorite movies are the Daniel Craig versions of the James Bond movies.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? 

I will be in my residency after med school.  I want to be an anesthesiologist.

Most valuable lesson learned? 

Active listening is the most valuable skill in life.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? 

My Dad is a wonderful role model because he is intelligent and respected.  He always practices the Golden Rule.

What motivates you? 

Competition is my greatest motivator.  I always want to do my best.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? 

Overcoming Dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome is my greatest accomplishment.  I have helped raise money for Regional Rehabilitation of Tupelo by emceeing the “Voices of Yesteryear” event which featured Tribute Artist, Gary Crain and many others; answering the phones for Celebration of Hope Annual Telethon; helping with the St. Patrick’s Day Run and helping with Derby Day Events.  I have been helping Regional Rehab for five years.

Best compliment you have ever received? 

The community leaders and educators I have spoken with about Dyslexia have all told me my confidence is my best trait.

Secret wish or dream? 

I want to take over the Bond franchise as the first teen Jane Bond.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? 

I slipped down the stairs in the ninth grade in front of hundreds of people.  I got picked on for weeks!!

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you?

I don’t love tight spaces but I think I would like to scuba dive.

What is your superpower? 

I’m a “baby whisperer”.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi Program? 

I have always volunteered. The Miss Mississippi Program has shown me how much young women give back to the community through their dedication and commitment in hours of service and funds raised. While I have always volunteered I now know I am part of an incredible group of intelligent beautiful young women who are making a big difference!

Describe yourself in one word. 

Confident

A Fun Family Fact? 

My family tree includes some real pirates!

Please write a short essay (2 or 3 paragraphs) describing yourself to the people viewing the website. Let people know who you really are. Keep in mind the questions you’ve already been asked and include other things that you would like people to know about you.

I am an honor student at Tupelo High School and a member of Art in Motion Competitive Dance Team. I love to dance and have studied ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary. Dance is my escape and my creative outlet. I was in Synergy Showchoir for two years. Learning to sing and dance at the same time in show choir has been interesting and I have learned so much about the physics of singing. It has taught me many things about show design and how songs and vocalist have to adjust for the dance moves required and the acoustics of the stage and theater. Being part of a team dynamic has been very rewarding!  We won third place at FAME National Showchoir Competition in 2016!

I spend my weekends outdoors.  I love riding ATV’s, hunting, fishing and target shooting with my family.  My 94-year-old grandmother loves to fish too!  The next best thing to being outside is cooking with my family.  My mom and dad love to cook and I started cooking when I could help mix cake batter.  I sold my first red velvet cake when I was 12.  This isn’t unique in my family; I have three little cousins who love to help me in the kitchen and we always have fun!

Please write a short essay (2 or 3 paragraphs) explaining your passion for your platform and your stance on the subject. Be sure to name your platform and give a brief explanation of its purpose as well.

My platform is Dyslexia Awareness. I had a difficult time learning to read in kindergarten and was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome in the third grade.  I truly understand the frustration and hours that it takes to learn what comes easily for most students.  I also understand the bullying that happens when you have any learning challenge.  Statistics show that 20-25% of people have Dyslexia but only a few have been properly tested and diagnosed.  My goal is to have every child who shows difficulty reading tested for Dyslexia by the third grade so those who need therapy can get it early.

As an active member of my community, I have partnered with the Regional Rehabilitation of Tupelo in my fundraising efforts.  I have successfully gained community sponsors to help with several of the annual fundraisers.  My goal is to raise enough money to hire another speech pathologist at Regional Rehabilitation of Tupelo. I chose publicizing Dyslexia as an issue because of my own experiences before and after I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. We need to recognize and assist these children and encourage them to believe in themselves and their abilities, to ignore what others might say about them and trust in themselves.