A BIG thank you to Jennifer Burt and Christy Stewart for allowing my brother Trevor, the inspiration for all the service I have done this year as Miss SC, to play piano! He played Midnight Rhapsody and receiving a huge standing ovation and lots of tears from the crowd! I am so proud of him!
My year as Miss South Central has been an amazing one! Here is the farewell speech I shared with the audience last night. In it, I reflect on some of the experiences I have had as Miss South Central. I also thank some very important people for their tremendous support:
Growing up. That’s what the Miss America Organization has helped me do over the past few years. It was only one year ago that I entered my first “big girl” pageant after having given up my teen title. Wow was I gawky then… Little did I know, I would win that first big girl pageant and have the most incredible year of my life, my year as Miss South Central 2008.
After I was crowned, I was home less than 8 hours before heading up to Crosslake, MN to be a counselor at Camp Hand in Hand, a camp for kids and young adults with Autism. My camper’s name was Triston! One day, Triston and I got to ride a horse named Branson. Triston thought is was SOOO funny when Branson would stop in the middle of the trail to eat a “snack”—i.e. whatever trees and shrubbery were in the vicinity. SO, to get Triston to participate in camp events, I would say “I know! Let’s take a ride on Branson!” aka, ME. He would hop on my back and I would gallop and neigh and stop to eat leafy snacks all the way to wherever we were going. Hey, whatever works, right? My camp experience was challenging and frustrating at times, but it is the most rewarding experience I have had to date.
Shortly after my crowning, I was introduced to Gillette Children’s Hospital at a Como Zoo family picnic. It was wonderful meeting the families I had impacted with the funds I had raised. I even met quite a few parents who had children with Autism.
The title of Miss South Central provided a huge volunteer networking opportunity that I took full advantage of.
I attended events such as Walk Now for Autism at Canterbury Park, Bounce for Autism at Pump it Up USA, and the Capitol Classic bike race for Autism at the MN State Capitol. I also formed a good relationship with the RT Autism Awareness Foundation. They invited me to perform at the Autistic License Play preshow and Beach Blanket Comedy night. I also attended the RTAAF annual Golf tournament. I had the opportunity to perform and speak at the Icebreaker Scholarship Gala held by West Metro Learning Connections. I emceed with WCCO news anchor Don Shelby and performed at the Polar Bears Int’l Children’s talent show, which was organized by a nine-year-old girl to raise money to save the polar bears. I also had a blast running the Best Crowning Moment Contest at the Waseca philanthropy fair. The Minnesota Senate Autism Task Force invited me to speak at a rally at the State Capitol where I also got to meet up with my uncle, Senator Steve Dille. I spoke at Steps of Hope where I met the Northfield Girls’ Group, a group for both neuro-typical high school girls and girls with Autism
This Girls’ Group is nothing less than amazing. They invited me to one of their meetings to scrapbook with them. They each made a page with pictures of fun activities they had done during the year. They even had photos ready so that I could make my own page. The night ended in a cheer off, with me “crowning” every person in the room. This may be one of my favorite events from my year. Seeing how this group of girls had bonded and supported each other truly touched my heart.
Another one of my favorite events connected to my platform was the first annual Minnesota You Can Do It pageant. The pageant was held in a small church packed to the brim with family members and friends. Watching the girls walk onstage for the first time and listening to the tremendous roar of cheers from their loved ones brought me to tears. Everyone deserves to be in the spotlight, and I’m so glad they had their moment in the sun. More so, I’m glad I was there to witness it.
I could go on and on with events I have been a part of, but of course, I'm already going over my time budget with this farewell! Moving on...!
Miss Minnesota week! What is there to say? I had a blast! I loved decorating cookies with patients at Gillette Children’s Hospital. One little girl even made ME a cookie! I was pretty excited! I got to feed a giraffe! How cool is that? And it was great hanging out with the girls at the zoo all day despite the rain.
For those of you who think my Miss MN experience must have been high stress dealing with a bunch of gorgeous petty girls, um, your wrong. You wouldn’t think getting 17 type-A, driven, all-want-the-same-thing girls together would be a good idea, but… WRONG AGAIN! We had a blast. These girls are beautiful both inside and out and we will be friends forever.
Competing for Miss MN was a dream come true. I love to perform. I love to make a difference in peoples’ lives. I’m so blessed to have had to opportunity and not to worry! I’ll be back! Watch out! Future Miss Minnesota coming through! Oh, and did I mention I placed 2nd runner up and now get to go compete for the National Sweetheart pageant in Illinois in THREE WEEKS?! Just thought I’d mention :D P.S. I was also a Quality of Life award finalist for my Autism work—that is actually what I am most proud of from this whole experience, the fact that my passion for Autism was recognized
And now to the part I’ve been avoiding, the part where I cry.
Mom, Dad and Trevor:
Mom, thank you for always believing in me, always paving the way to my dreams, and loving me in good times and bad.
Daddy, I am so glad you are still here with us after your brain tumor surgery. I don’t know what I would do without you, you marshmallow. You’ve always believed I could do anything and that means so much to me.
I love you guys.
Trevor, buddy, my bro, my man, you are such an inspiration. I am so proud of you. Yes, you have Asperger’s Syndrome, but that hasn’t stop you from getting good grades, being on the Speech team, becoming an Eagle Scout, becoming a senior in high school, getting your driver’s permit, and playing piano beautifully. You have so much to offer the world and I’m so blessed to have you as my best brother ever. I love you.
To my extended family and friends who came to support me at Miss Minnesota: You’re the best! You being there made it all worthwhile! Many of you were hoarse by the end of the night you were cheering so loud, and while I’m concerned about your vocal chords, it still made me smile.
Kim-My personal trainer, my best friend and worst enemy-just kidding-I would NOT, I repeat not have been able to get into shape without you. I love chocolate too much!
Nelly-I love you! You have a heart of gold and you’ve helped me come so far as a singer and as a person.
Cheri-You are like family to me. Thank you for your never-ending encouragement in both good times and bad. I’m so blessed to have you in my life. I love you to!
Jen and Christy-I can’t imagine having more supportive, selfless, loving, hilarious, caring, giving, sacrificing directors than you! I wish you could be my directors forever! I know regardless of my decrowning, you will always support me. Coming to Illinois? Hint hint! And, I love YOU guys to! Spreadin’ the love today!
To all the other supporters and coaches I didn’t happen to get a picture with, Sarah Moses, Bunny Nara, Lifetime Fitness, Paula Preston, the Miss South Central committee members, the Miss MN Board of directors, Don Baker, Margaret Eaves-Smith….I know there are more, you know who you are, thank you ALL so much. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Sarah-My sister queen, My Miss Waseca County Sleigh and Cutter, My Miss-I’m-so-beautiful-everyone-wants-to-take-my-picture…I am going to miss you SO much! This year with you has been incredible. I am so blessed to have met you and I know we will be friends for a lifetime. I’m still trying to convince you to run for another double local with me. After all, Team Waseca dominates!!!! Go team! I love you Sarah. I know you’ll be successful and inspirational in whatever you do.
Well, this is it, I’m almost a has-been. You’re all sweating in your seats, itching to meet the next Miss South Central. And that’s okay. I know deep down inside you all love me. You’re just under stress at the moment. :D To the next Miss South Central, you’re in for the ride of your life. Use this title as a tool for your growth and development, for your ability to impact change and to help others. Don’t waste this chance. You only get so many.
One last time, I am your Miss South Central 2008, Natalie Davis. You’ll see me again.