Throughout life, we face choices. Sometimes we battle the internal struggle of Cherry Nibs versus Peanut Butter Krispie at the vending machine. Other times, the decisions are serious, with enormous implications.
At 14 years old, Shaniah Freeseman decided to essentially, start over.
Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography
“[When I was 5] I moved to Aurora, Colorado with my mom and lived there for about 10 years. Towards the end of my 8th grade year, I decided I wanted to live with my dad in Gordon, Nebraska,” Shaniah told me recently. “I moved to Gordon and was ready for one of the biggest changes of my life.”
Aurora is Colorado’s third largest city with an estimated population of 325,000. Gordon’s estimated population is 1,500.. with less than 200 students at Gordon Rushville High.
“I dropped everything, the school I was going to, my friends, and the memories I had made the 10 years I lived in Colorado with my mom,” said Shaniah. “But I did what I knew was going to make me happy, and even though it was hard, I got through it by keeping God close to my heart and my family by my side.”
And with these cuties behind her every step of the way, Shaniah hit the ground running in her new home… literally!
“Throughout my three years of high school I’ve been involved in multiple sports including volleyball, basketball and track,” said Shaniah. “I’m also involved in multiple groups including Life of an Athlete, Medical Explorers Club, Turner Youth Foundation, FFA, my church youth group, National Honor Society and my school’s Spring play. I wouldn’t change my busy schedule for anything because I know I’m taking advantage of the amazing opportunities high school offers.”
Shaniah also looked ahead to the future, fueling her love for volleyball year after year. This year as a junior, when the scouts start looking and the college visits start taking place, Shaniah says she attended several college volleyball games, looking up to those six players on each court.
Then.. THIS happened.
“Halfway through my junior year, I thought my volleyball career was over,” said Shaniah. “I dislocated my patella in a basketball game, and it took me to my lowest point. I had to take a deep look at who was in control.”
Once again, Shaniah made a choice, turning to her faith with trust and determination. As she recovered, she channeled her feelings through her other passion, singing, and any activity that would allow her to perform more.
“Whether it’s on my church worship team, or in the car with my friends, singing is my go-to thing,” said Shaniah. “I love the way God works through music to get to people, he has amazing ways of doing things. I share my love for Christ by singing solos at church, talent shows, at the Sandhills Alive Music Festival, as well as singing with my family and friends. God is such an important aspect of my life, and singing is just one more way for me to express my love for Him.”
Shaniah also focused on her immediate future, preparing to compete for the title of Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen in June as Miss Panhandle’s Outstanding Teen.
“I’ve already benefited from this program and I’ve only been involved in it for three short years,” said Shaniah. “Although I love being on stage, singing and competing with all the other contestants, my favorite part of competition is what happens backstage. I love getting to know everyone and making true friendships with amazing girls that I never would have met if it wasn’t for pageants. From the constant laughs and jokes, to all the stories we share with each other, so many great memories are made.”
Shaniah credits the Miss Nebraska Organization for helping her discover herself, in the midst of her challenges. Now, she hopes to take her own stories of challenge and choices across the state, sharing her personal platform, ‘Overcoming Adversity In Order To Be Your Best.’
“I’ve had to learn to be mature at a very young age. I also grew up the peacemaker of things and I had to learn the hard way that nothing goes perfectly,” said Shaniah. “Life is tough, but it’s tough for a reason.”
We all make choices.. on the easiest of days, and in the darkest of moments. One of my favorite quotes is from the movie Where The Heart Is.. ‘Our lives can change with every breath we take.’
Shaniah Freeseman has made many decisions just in the last few years. Now, she’s ready to inhale, stand tall, and let a panel of incredible judges decide what path she will turn down next. Before they do, she has a message.. CHOOSE ME.
“I should be Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen because I would use my story of struggle and strife to show others what a true role model is,” said Shaniah. “I’ve found out who I am. [God] made me the way I am for a reason, and with the right people around me influence me, I’ve found out who I am. I would show others it’s okay to be different, and it’s okay to make a change for the better.”
CLICK EACH LINK to follow Miss Panhandle’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Shaniah Freeseman
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SHANIAH?
For more information about the Miss Alliance’s OT/Miss Harvest Moon Festival’s OT/Miss Panhandle’s Outstanding Teen pageant, CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page. For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Melinda Cullan by phone at 308-710-5593, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on becoming a Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestant, contact Director Heather Edwards at email@example.com or Director Kali Tripp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about this year’s contestants, or the Miss Nebraska/Miss Nebraska’s OT classes of 2015 & 2014, click the THERE SHE IS link at the top of the page!