My year as Miss Apple Blossom Festival 2011 was truly amazing. The night I was crowned in November of 2010 was a night I will always remember.
The previous year I began competing in locals, after many years of following the Miss Virginia pageant, avidly pouring over Julius Tolentino’s photos on pageant week to admire the beautiful young women aspiring for the crown. I hoped that I could one day have my very own arrival photos outside the Hotel Roanoke and compete on the Miss Virginia stage. That year my dream did not come true.
After competing in several locals, not placing, placing, and winning various awards, I was pleased with my accomplishments, but could not help but feel a tinge of disappointment. I had not captured an iconic four point crown, but had learned so much about myself and the Miss America Organization. I had gained a tremendous amount of respect for the competitors I now called friends. The amount of encouragement and support I received from everyone in the Miss Virginia family was overwhelming. I vowed to work even harder towards my goal and stay positive, with high hopes of winning what I now understood was not just a ticket to Miss Virginia, but an opportunity to make a positive impact on the community as a local titleholder.
Winning Miss Apple Blossom Festival was a surreal, out-of-body experience. As the sash was placed across my chest, I couldn’t believe what was happening! To join the Apple Blossom sisterhood meant to join a lineage with a long history of accomplishments: several Miss Virginia’s and even a Miss America–no pressure! I still can hardly believe it when I see my name listed alongside their names as former titleholders.
SHENANDOAH APPLE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL 2011
My year as Miss Apple Blossom Festival was one of growth and many wonderful memories. The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival was an unforgettable experience. Winchester, Virginia is truly the “land of pink & green” and since I myself am the pink & green Lilly queen, it was basically heaven. In all seriousness, the Festival is a Grade “A” production. I was so impressed by the strong sense of camaraderie in the area. Seeing a community come together and pull off something on that scale is truly a testament to its citizens. Thank you to all the volunteers to make it happen each year!
I am also thankful that Miss Virginia is a guest at the Festival each year. Having the chance to spend time with Miss Virginia 2010, Caitlin Uze, and get a glimpse into what being Miss Virginia is really like was a priceless opportunity. Thank you, Katie, for being such an amazing sister. You are truly a role model to me.
MISS VIRGINIA PAGEANT 2011
To everyone who helped me on my journey to Miss Virginia, I can’t thank you enough. My family, friends, the Executive Directors of Miss Apple Blossom Festival, the committee, and sponsors supported me in ways I will never forget. My time competing at Miss Virginia in June was unforgettable, extremely stressful, and challenged me to be a better person. I am proud to have had the chance to promote my platform message, Hazing Prevention, partnering with www.HazingPrevention.org and www.StopHazing.org. Although I did not win Miss Virginia this past year, I was thrilled to have been the People’s Choice finalist, which allowed me to compete on stage and live television as part of the Top 11! My year of service as Miss Apple Blossom Festival 2011 will never be forgotten and I ultimately thank God for blessing me with the opportunity.
Please follow my blog for updates on my future with the Miss Virginia Organization. I hope to return to the Miss Virginia stage in June 2012.
The content on this page has been adapted from my Miss Apple Blossom Festival 2011 farewell speech.