Friday, August 15, 2008

A slight pause after a long week

Friday could not have come any sooner! This was an extremely busy week, but very worthwhile. With the school year quickly approaching, I had a great deal of work to do for our Bobcats for Babies organization on campus. We have increased our membership to over thirty students, but always like to utilize the student volunteer fair at the beginning of the year to recruit more members. Bobcats for Babies is a collegiate chapter of the March of Dimes I started my freshman year of college. With the help of several supportive friends, it has grown into a well-known student organization. We organize mission events, raise funds, and heighten awareness for premature birth and birth defects. We now have started a blog for our organization to keep students more informed of our efforts on campus.

While catching up on my March of Dimes work, I have been working at our Ping Recreation Center on campus. As a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and fitness assistant (basically a desk job), I spend a great deal of time at Ping. Today was especially long, since I put in eleven hours. A nice break from the week was taking a trip up to Cleveland to judge the Miss North Royalton pageant which is led by Sylvia Jenson, the director of the Miss Ohio local preliminary, Miss Greater Cleveland.

Since Cleveland is closer to my hometown than Athens, I drove home Wednesday night after work to cut the drive down to two and half hours. My mom, always trying to help, decided she would drive with me (I think she fears I will fall asleep at the wheel). Regardless, I had not seen my mom too much lately and it was fun spend time with her on the trip. The pageant took place on Thursday with interviews beginning in the afternoon. The contestants were split into five categories ranging from age five to twenty-one. I enjoyed talking with the little ones and was impressed with their speaking ability at such young ages. When I was seven years old, I highly doubt I could articulate my words very well. I was more worried about digging in the dirt and beating the boy next door in basketball.

Janelle Zindroaski, Miss North Royalton 2007, kicked off the event by singing the National Anthem. Janelle has competed in several Miss Ohio preliminaries, and shared that she has been participating in pageants since the age of seven. Later in the show she also sang LeAnn Rimes, "One Way Ticket," which has always been one of my favorite songs. She is a very sweet person and I hope I will be seeing her in the near -future at Miss Ohio locals.

One of the highlights from the show was when the youngest contestant and only boy, won the title of the Miss North Royalton Little Prince. After he was crowned, he began throwing up his arms, performing karate moves and flexing his muscles. He was adorable and the audience loved him!

Our judging panel had a great time the whole day. There were many laughs and stories told outside our judging duties.
From left to right: Me, Louisa Cieprel, Ann Carroll, Alison Liscoe, Lisa Iwasaki

Lisa (pictured with me on the right) is the current Miss Teen Ohio International, which was held in Zanesville this past March. She is a very beautiful, talented girl and was full of energy the whole day! Alison Liscoe also had a very impressive resume. She was a past competitor in the Miss Ohio America program, 3rd Runner-Up to Miss Ohio USA, and a semi-finalist on "America's Next Top Model." Now you know why I stood at the opposite end of the line for the judges photo! Also, Alison is getting married next week. Sylvia's husband Harvey was giving her all kinds of marriage advice, most of which was rooted in humor.

Another exciting part of the evening was the opportunity to meet Whitney Sue Fricke, the new Miss Cuyahoga County. She is absolutely beautiful and she too has a recent obsession with super-high waist line. We even took a picture to prove it. Whitney did a wonderful job performing her talent piece, "Orange Colored Sky." She has great stage presence. After the show, my mom and I met Whitney's family, who were all very kind. I can see Whitney doing very well this year at Miss Ohio.

Before we left, Lisa and I took a picture with Sylvia. Her energy amazes me! She never stopped moving the whole day. My mom and I arrived back in Zanesville around 1 am, and then I drove back to Athens. Since I had to work this morning at 6:30 am, there was no sense waiting to go back in the morning. It made for a long eleven hour day at work, but the experience at Miss North Royalton was worth it. It is always nice to experience an interview from the other side of the judge's table. I enjoy judging and it is always a good learning experience.

I am grateful that is finally Friday and to top the day off, I now have internet in my apartment. Basically, that means you will be hearing from me again soon.

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