This pageant was probably the first experience that sparked my confidence in being successful. There was about a semester of preparation which led to the pageant in the first weekend of February. We had meetings every Monday night where we would learn a dance, review our weekly readings on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Stephen Covey, and answer questions about quotes. Our first task was to interview a prominent woman in our town and write an essay: 1/3 about ourselves and 2/3 relating to our prominent woman’s life story. Once we finished reading Stephen Covey’s book, we were interviewed by a panel of people about how we related the book to the decisions we make in our relationships with family, friends, education and extracurricular activities. We spent that last couple meetings practicing our dance, walking on stage and presenting our speech which was 1/3 about our prominent lady, and 2/3 about ourselves.
On pageant night, we opened with the dance we practiced on Monday nights. We then, went in order going on stage and giving our speech, which was immediately followed by three questions. The first one is always same: “How has the experiences you’ve gained during the last months of the Miss Yucca Valley Pageant prepared you for your future?” The second and third questions are quotes in which you must state what that quote means to you and how it relates to your life. Once everyone is finished, we get to walk on stage in our gowns and then be escorted by a family member at the bottom through the center aisle of the audience. At the end of the night we all stand together and the awards begin: Miss Congeniality, Top Essay Winner, followed by the Third Princess, Second Princess, First Princess, and Queen being crowned.
Other events we were able to attend during the semester were chamber mixers, a Kiwanis International Club presentation, girls’ night, and white elephant for Christmas. I was crowned Queen on my pageant night, and I have no clue how because there were 9 other amazing girls standing right beside me. The next year’s contestants were our responsibility to teach and prepare for the next pageant. This was honestly the best part, because I was able to share everything I had learned to another group of 10 girls. My princesses and I had the opportunity to attend parades, do volunteer work for town events, and attend water district board meetings and town council meetings.
The initial reason I decided to be a contestant for the pageant is because my high school sweetheart’s cousin was third princess in the year before me and I looked up to her. I knew this was a scholarship pageant, so I didn’t feel intimidated by having to look the part. I ended up giving it my best and because of that, I wasn’t lying when I said on stage years ago that “this pageant showed me what it means to be a lady, a business woman, and most importantly myself.” I truly have to give all my thanks to a couple named Tara and Sheldon for putting their hearts into this program. Both of them were in the background making everything come together. Their best interest was watching us girls learn to be confident, motivated and proud of who we are and they will always have a place in my heart for that.