Tag Archive | jessica littlejohn

ROAR

Well, HELLO!!!!! Long time no post! As always, THANK YOU for reading the blog!

I have been ‘off the grid’ for most of the month of June.  Vacation, time with family, heaven at home.

IT HAS BEEN FABULOUS!

Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath, step back, close your eyes and BE.  I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and reminded of who I am.  GO OFF THE GRID! IT’S GREAT!  Even if just for a few days.

Before my amazing time at home with the three men in my life (four, if you count our dog, Mack), my hiatus began with a long awaited trip to North Platte, Nebraska.

MISS NEBRASKA 2015.

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Photo courtesy of Corbey Dorsey for the North Platte Telegraph; click here to read the NPT’s wonderful article on Alyssa by reporter Kamie Stephen!

After seven days of rehearsals and events, four days of nerve-wracking competition, a lot of laughs and some tears, too.. Miss Douglas County Alyssa Howell was crowned Miss Nebraska 2015.  What an INCREDIBLE moment to cap off a wonderful week for this caring, young woman.  Alyssa has dedicated so much of her time to others.  She is sweet, kind, hard working and focused.  For five years, she also watched her big sister compete at both the Miss Iowa and Miss Nebraska pageant, finishing as a finalist multiple times.

THIS MOMENT WAS ALL ALYSSA.  SHE WILL NOW FOREVER BE MISS NEBRASKA.

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So many cool moments; the kids who just LOVED Alyssa, including her Little Sisters who took part in all of the Miss Nebraska events at her side, and the little boy who not only wanted one kiss, he circled around for a second.  Alyssa’s real boyfriend, Grady, and his excitement and sheer pride every moment leading up to his girl’s crowning moment.  Shrieks of joy between Alyssa and the new Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Steffany Lien; the two have been Miss Douglas County sisters for months, now they are going to Miss America together.  And the heartwarming friendship and bond between Alyssa and her sister queen Miss Omaha Megan Gould, supporting each other from Omaha to North Platte and still to this day.

But.. I’m going to throw this out there.. was Alyssa ‘the best’?

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How do you choose which flower is ‘the best’ in the garden?  Which city is ‘the best’ in our state?  Which art, whether it be singing or dancing or playing piano, is ‘the best’?  Alyssa will be a FANTASTIC Miss Nebraska and I cannot WAIT to see how far she’ll go at Miss America.  This is Alyssa’s time; this is the result of her hard work; this recognizes an exceptional young woman, helping her to inspire so many more; and five smart, talented, and critical judges determined Alyssa Howell was the best candidate for this job as Miss Nebraska 2015.

The best of the best, you might say.. because HOLY CRAP, did this event showcase some absolutely incredible women in our state.

4th Runner Up, Miss Northwest LaRissa McKean

JOYFUL.  LaRissa McKean radiated happiness, and made everyone in the Miss Nebraska audience feel it.  She also shared that positivity with her fellow contestants, voted Miss Congeniality by the majority of the other titleholders.  LaRissa CAPTIVATED the audience Thursday night, winning the Preliminary Talent Award with an energetic and dazzling dance (another Kitty Lee Dance graduate!)  As I told one of my friends during finals night, she JUST MAKES ME SMILE.  What a better role model than that?

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3rd Runner Up, Miss Heartland Steffani Jiroux

BREATHTAKING.  I love watching dance, but don’t know much about it (and hurt myself trying.) I know even less about ballet, but I LOVE the costumes, the makeup, the SHOW.  And boy, oh boy, did Steffani Jiroux deliver.

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Just stop and look at this picture for a second.. (and thanks to Kamie Stephen and the North Platte Telegraph for sharing it!)

It was like watching a scene from a movie. Steffani also seemed to enjoy herself every moment; smiling nonstop, walking across that stage like she OWNED it, twirling around her Little Sisters like they were just dancing in the living room and not competing for the title of Miss Nebraska.  What’s next for Steffani? Continuing LAW SCHOOL at Creighton University.

2nd Runner Up, Miss Kool-Aid Days Brooke Ludemann

SENSATIONAL.  Miss Nebraska and Miss America challenge a woman to become the best version of herself in all areas, and Brooke Ludemann pushed herself to the max in every. single. test.  Her gown made me gasp (in a good way!); her answers showed evidence of a woman with a business plan as Miss Nebraska; her physical self was a demonstration of what our bodies can become with hard work and discipline, and her talent.. I have no words.  On the final night of competition, with everything on the line, Brooke’s performance singing ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables game me CHILLS.  Brooke won 2nd place for the Miss Nebraska Community Service Award, and she will be Nebraska’s representative at the National Sweetheart Pageant this summer.

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1st Runner Up, Miss Kearney Crane Festival Allison Tietjen

JAW DROPPING.  Every time Allison Tietjen walked on stage, my eyes were just DRAWN to her.  (In a completely uncreepy way, regardless of how that sounds…) She is the model of poise, grace, and beauty.  Allison could’ve walked right off the Miss Nebraska stage onto Hollywood’s red carpet and fit right in. BUT, what I love is that Allison knows, and SHOWS, this program’s power and purpose extends long beyond Miss Nebraska week.  Allison’s work promoting awareness of our veterans earned her the Miss Nebraska Community Service Award and the Miss America Community Service Award; she also earned the Miracle Maker Award for raising more than $1300 for the Children’s Miracle Network, helping hospitals like Omaha’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.  Oh yea, and Allison JUST TURNED 19 in April.  Truly exceptional.

I would argue not one of these women is ‘better’ than the other; each is SENSATIONAL.  They each prepared, volunteered, practiced.. hoping THIS was their year, and their time.  It was only destiny for one–and Alyssa is FABULOUS.  But this is why you see so many girls try again for the crown.. and thank the Lord for that, because they are all deserving, INCREDIBLE women, and bringing them together to recognize them and their accomplishments is uplifting and inspiring to everyone who can be part of it.  WE ARE WOMEN, HEAR US ROAR!!!!

***

Now to the moment I know you all have been waiting for…

The 2nd Annual Brandi Petersen Unofficial Superfan Awards!

( ahem… I’ll wait for your laughter to die down before I proceed..)

The ‘My Life Goal Is To Look Like Carrie Underwood’ Awards…

Again.. the work and service that take place the other 364 days of the year are arguably the most important part of the Miss America Organization.. but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the gowns!!  C’mon.. from dreaming of your wedding gown, to picking out prom dresses, to playing dress up as a little girl, who DOESN’T love beautiful dresses?!? 2015 was simply a RAINBOW of color on the Miss Nebraska stage, and THAT alone made it awesome.  So much diversity; different colors, styles, fits.. and so much elegance!

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Remember how I said Miss Kool-Aid Days Brooke Ludemann’s gown made me gasp?  GASP!!!  OHHH.. this dress.. this moment.. absolutely INCREDIBLE. (Details: Tarik Ediz gown from the Black Swan Dress Boutique in Lincoln)

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Miss Kearney Crane Festival Allison Tietjen.. ANOTHER gown that stole my breath.  Just STUNNING.  (Details: custom Sherri Hill gown from the Winning Crown Boutique in Omaha)

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And boy, those Kearney Crane Festival Directors KNOW THEIR STYLE.. because Miss Kearney Crane Festival’s Outstanding Teen was possibly MY FAVORITE gown of the weekend!  There was just something so very special about Merrilee Prill when she walked on stage in this dress.  The color, the style, HOW she wore it.  I LOVED IT. ( Details: Jovani Fashions gown from the Black Swan Dress Boutique in Lincoln–thanks to owner Joe Bohac for the photo!)

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Miss Northwest’s Outstanding Teen Cherokee Purviance.. what a GORGEOUS choice for her gown!  On stage, this color and the sparkle were just RADIANT.  (Details: a Mac Duggal gown from Hirschfeld’s Prom Shoppe in North Platte–thanks to them for the photo!)

The ‘Holy Crap, Petersen, Put Down That Blizzard’ Awards..

I’d like to show you my reaction to this year’s Miss contestants competing in swimsuit.

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My thanks to Taylor Swift for the assist.

ABSOLUTELY SENSATIONAL.  This year EXEMPLIFIED that Lifestyle and Fitness is just that–this competition is intended to encourage women to treat their bodies like temples and reach their full physical potential.  AND THESE WOMEN DID.  Abs, biceps, quads for days. This wasn’t about starving, or being the skinniest.  You could SEE their work; the time they spent in the gym and the time they DIDN’T spend at their local fast food spot.

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Miss Omaha Megan Gould was my winner for swimsuit.  I know this girl puts in countless hours of dance and practice as a Nebraska Cornhusker cheerleader, and WOW-did that hard work show!!  Plus Megan was just SOO confident, not conceited in the least, just wonderfully comfortable in her own skin.  You go, Megan!

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Miss Heartland Steffani Jiroux.  This is her profile picture now on Facebook (taken by Kamie Stephen for the North Platte Telegraph), and to me, that’s using restraint.  If I looked like this, I’d make a cardboard cutout of myself to greet people at my front door.  THIS is what happens with 20 years of ballet training and several more as a member of the Creighton University dance team!

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Miss Kearney Crane Festival Allison Tietjen was the Overall Swimsuit Winner at Miss Nebraska this year, and here’s why!  Another absolutely radiant moment in red for the UNL sophomore, and in case you’re wondering, she’s a piano player.. so what you see is the result of sheer hours in the gym and dedication to nutrition!

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And Miss Kool-Aid Days Brooke Ludemann.  Just.. WOW.  MUSCLE ON MUSCLE WITH MUSCLE.  When I messaged Brooke about using this photo, she responded ‘I’m darn proud of those photos!’  AS SHE SHOULD BE!! AH-MAZ-ING!!

STRENGTH, POWER, HEALTH. Are you listening, America? I just read this morning there are more clinically obese people in our country than simply overweight Americans.  Heart disease remains a leading killer.  These women exercised and ate healthy with consistency and self discipline for months, and likely formed a foundation to continue to do so to some extent.  Long after that 10 second walk across stage in a swimsuit, their health is improved, their confidence is boosted, and they’ve empowered and inspired many others. (I’M AT THE TOP OF THAT LIST!) Ladies, you should be so very proud of yourselves.

The Nebraska’s Got Talent Awards..

MY WINNERS FOR TALENT: THIS YEAR’S MISS NEBRASKA’S OUTSTANDING TEEN CONTESTANTS.

BLOWN AWAY.

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to the other young woman who wrapped up this weekend in North Platte with a state title..

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Miss Douglas County’s Outstanding Teen Steffany Lien is now Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2015!  (A 3-peat for Omaha titleholders!)  While Steffany shined all night at the competition, SHE OWNED talent.  America, watch out; when this girl competes for the national title in Orlando this July, she will STUN YOU!

CLICK HERE to see a preview, showing Steffany competing at the World Championships in Italy in April, winning her SIXTH world title.

Steffany does things with a baton that challenge the Laws of Gravity and Physics.  Not only have I never seen her drop a baton in competition, I’ve never seen the girl even ‘almost’ drop one in rehearsal.  She is SENSATIONAL!

Nebraska’s 10th Outstanding Teen was one of several incredibly talented young teenagers who competed in North Platte this year.  Piano players, singers, dancers.. these girls are so young they can’t vote, but they knocked the socks off everyone in the audience Friday night.

Among my favorites (along with Steffany, of course!)..

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..singer Emma Kate Brown, Miss Platte Valley’s Outstanding Teen.  There’s a reason why little girls love her.. because someday she will be the voice of a princess in a Disney movie.  That’s how I described her voice to my husband.  Emma Kate sang ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story and her innate vocal talent is just BEAUTIFUL.  I’m calling it now.. the next animated blockbuster you take your kids to, you will likely hear Emma Kate in the soundtrack! (And a huge CONGRATULATIONS to this beauty as well!  Less than two weeks after being named 2nd Runner Up at Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen, the Elkhorn South student was also named Nebraska’s Best High School Actress, winning an all-expenses paid trip to New York to compete for the National Award!!)

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Grace Heggem, Miss Scotts Bluff County’s Outstanding Teen, was dazzling from start to finish.  She played Tarantella on the piano, her fingers dancing across the keys at the speed of light, and she NAILED it.  Much like ballet, I know nothing about piano, but I can hear a bad note… and I didn’t hear one off-key when Grace performed.  Incredible!

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Emma Keifer, Miss Gering’s Outstanding Teen, was just a joy to watch.  I felt like I was watching an act from So You Think You Can Dance (and you all know what a freak I am about that show!!) Emma tapped.. up and down STAIRS.  Her energy was just OFF THE CHARTS.  Emma, you would’ve made Nigel proud!

And finally, though she wasn’t competing for a title, this performance was MY FAVORITE TALENT PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK..

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THE WATER CUPS DANCE.  Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2014 Morgan Holen, performing the same dance her mother Jodi did as Miss Nebraska 1988 at the Miss America pageant that year.  Balancing three cups of water on her hands and forehead, Morgan bent backward, forward, down into splits, up from splits… all without spilling a drop.  You could’ve heard a PIN drop in the auditorium, as hundreds of us collectively held our breath through this performance.  ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE..  just like Morgan.  Many of us shed tears as she took her final walk as our state titleholder.. mine started to fall as her proud daddy, Brad, handed her a bouquet of flowers at the bottom of the Miss Nebraska stage.  The sky is the limit for this young woman–you WILL see her again.

The Brittany Jeffers Awards for Super Awesomeness

We all have someone we just ADMIRE.. their style, their confidence, just because THEY ARE AWESOME.  Some of mine: one of my best friends Jenni Rohacik who always looks so good she could host E!, my neighbor Brittni Madden who can take a picture off Pinterest and make a project look like it cost thousands of dollars.. and my fellow anchor/reporter/forever Miss Omaha Brittany Jeffers-Hannema, who I swear is fabulous, in every way possible, 24/7.  (And now that I’ve declared my obsession with these ladies.. they may all be working on protection orders..) THESE GIRLS ARE JUST AWESOME!  Brittany gets the award named after her because she had to work rather than attend the Miss Nebraska pageant this year.. she may have been on air in Oklahoma, but her heart was in North Platte!

Two young ladies made a huge impression on me this year.. two teens who I didn’t know prior to this year’s pageant.

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Shelby Blundell, Miss Chadron’s Outstanding Teen, was the youngest and tiniest of ALL of this year’s contestants, Miss and Teen.  She was also Contestant #1 in the competition, a tough draw; you set the bar for the judges, you are the first contestant both that panel and the audience will see.  Shelby rose to the challenge, nailing her song in talent, and impressing the hell out of me during her on stage question.  Shelby was asked a very tough question, whether LGBTQ issues should be discussed at school in the classroom or in group/activity settings, or if those topics are best left for family and group discussion outside of school.  Without hesitation, tiny Shelby answered confidently and quickly, sharing her opinions without pause.  That’s a tough issue for politicians and public leaders to address, and often we see adults avoiding giving a clear answer.  This young woman tackled the issue head on, and agree with her or not, it was refreshing to see such a young person stand tall and share her opinion.

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I was also SO very impressed with Allison Baird, Miss Western Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.  For the second year in a row, Allison was named 1st Runner Up in the teen competition.  I’ve touched on this before.. as exhilarating as it is to hear your name called as a new titleholder.. it is incredibly disappointing when all of that work does not result in that win.  Allison’s now been through that twice.. coming ever so close both times.  BUT.. the moment that curtain closed after Steffany was crowned, when the spotlights were off and no one was watching her (except me, the nosy emcee/reporter backstage), Allison was the first one to smile and hug Steffany.  She was also the first to hug Morgan last year–and not just the cordial ‘arm around her, pat pat pat’ hug.. but a genuine embrace, wishing a friend well.  It’s the moments you think no one is looking when your true character is revealed.  Allison Baird is an exceptional young lady.  A gorgeous voice.  Mature and smart.  Beautiful.  And in those moments, when I can only imagine how her heart was breaking, she showed class and selflessness, to celebrate Steffany’s moment.  That’s something you don’t often see in adults, let alone a young woman just entering her senior year of high school.  Again, these competitions are not about choosing ‘who is the best’, but who is right for the position at that exact moment in time.  YOU ARE A WINNER, ALLISON.. your future is so very bright.

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So did you pick up on that ’emcee/reporter’ note?  I had the GREAT honor of co-emceeing this year’s Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant with this beauty, my final Awesomeness Award Winner, Jessica States!  A) She can sing REALLY well  B) She’s a born leader, holding a respected position with Junior Achievement of Lincoln  C) She was THE FIRST Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen in 2005!

AND, she was SUCH A GREAT co-host!!!  We had such a terrific time, and I hope the audience did, too!  (And thank you to Joe Bohac and the Black Swan Dress Boutique for providing our gorgeous gowns for the evening!)

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#MNOT2015.  Trending.

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What a terrific, empowering week of incredible women and the people who support them.

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I enjoyed every single moment, and CAN’T WAIT until next year to do it all over again!  AND, I NEED to mention what these girls took away from Miss Nebraska (in addition to their own memories..)

MORE THAN $42,800 IN CASH AWARDS

AND MORE THAN $400,455 IN OFFERED COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS.

But hey, it’s just a silly scholarship pageant, right?

***

One final message to wrap up this post, and this year’s 2015 Miss Nebraska series..

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I was SO very honored and humbled to receive this year’s Miss Nebraska Volunteer of the Year Award.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all of you who have read these blogs and offered your congratulations.  I’m still mystified and elated that so many people check in to read my work, and to receive such an incredible honor for it is just a thrill.  THANK YOU.

To all 24 of the young ladies who competed in North Platte, YOU EMPOWER ME. You are the future of our state, and our country, and that makes me so very proud.  CONGRATULATIONS Alyssa, Steffany, and every young woman taking a chance to set an example, be a role model, and to just SPARKLE.

No matter what you do next, crown or not, go out into the world and continue to ROAR.

***

 Click here to learn more about the Miss Nebraska Organization, and the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant.  You can also visit Miss Nebraska on Facebook, follow the pageant on Twitter, and follow the pageant on Instagram.

To read more about the Miss Nebraska, and Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.

Madame Butterfly

Think back to where you were in 2012.. what you did, the places you traveled, the person who were. My husband and I took a long awaited trip to Hawaii… as parents of ONE, not two.  I can’t imagine life without my two little boys.. and can hardly remember a time before I was a momma of two, even though it was just a few years ago.

Now, imagine how much your life changed between when you were, say, 17 years old.. and 20 years old.  The music you sang along with in the car.. the stages in life those songs represented. For this young woman, those ages and times could arguably be represented by two records, two Miss Nebraska pageants, and two very different points in her life.

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MISS SANDHILLS 2015 KATE LYNNE DUNCAN

(Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography)

“The last time I competed at Miss Nebraska was in 2012 as Miss Scottsbluff.  I was only eligible for the Miss division because I graduated from Gering High School less than one month before Miss Nebraska, I was only 17 at the time,” Kate  told me recently.  “I am absolutely elated to have the opportunity to compete on the Miss Nebraska stage again!  Three years later, I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth.”

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2012 to 2015, sister queens Jessica Littlejohn and Kate Lynne Duncan

That maturation is what inspires Kate’s platform of service: ‘True Beauty: It Shines From The Inside.’  She’s promoting the DOVE Beauty Project, in addition to her own message to women to see their own beauty as others do.

“[Reveal] your attitude, outlook, confidence, intelligence and passion,” said Kate.  “It is all too easy to be absorbed in the body shaming negativity seen in the media.  Young women often feel inadequate if they fail to fit the picture-perfect, highly photo-shopped and airbrushed mold.  I strive to inspire young women to inspire and create a world where beauty is a source of self-confidence, not anxiety.”

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As Miss Sandhills, Kate created a self-esteem workshop, including varied activities for elementary, middle and high school students.  Schools are familiar environments for Kate; she’s studying K-12 Music Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney focusing on vocal music and a 7-12 English endorsement.  She’s also a Resident Assistant on campus, is active with the Loper Activities Program Counsel, the collegiate chapter of the National Association for Music Educators and the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.

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“I would have not been able to afford my first year at UNK wthout the scholarships I received from competing in the 2012 Miss Nebraska pageant,” said Kate.  “With the funds I have received from competing, I will pay off my only student loan this fall and graduate in May 2017 debt free.”

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Kate has also spent the last three years perfecting her passion, music.

“With three years of private vocal study under my belt, my voice has grown tremendously since the last time I competed on the Miss Nebraska stage,” said Kate.  “This June I will be performing Carrie Underwood’s ‘Something In The Water’.  She has a powerhouse voice and I’m definitely up for the challenge.  The first time I heard that song it gave me goosebumps and I knew I had to sing it.”

And arguably, a fitting choice.  The song is all about evolution within faith, growth in spirit and as a person.  Kate Lynne Duncan, 2015.  Flashback to 2012 when she sang Blessings by Laura Story.  From a promising high school graduate testing the waters of independence, to a driven woman achieving her academic goals as a leader among her peers.  Two songs, two stages, transformation.  Kate Lynne Duncan is a butterfly, ready to return to North Platte and poised to reveal HER inner beauty.

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Follow Miss Sandhills 2015 Kate Lynne Duncan

and contact her about appearances and events on Twitter, on Instagram and on Facebook.  Click here to read Kate Lynne’s blog A Whole Latte Love.  

For information on becoming a future contestant, contact Director Shardel Nelson at 308-760-7266 or by email at shardel@bbc.net.

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The Miss Nebraska Pageant will take place June 3-6, 2015 in North Platte.  Click here to visit the organization’s website, to visit the pageant on Facebook, to follow the pageant on Twitter, and to follow the pageant on Instagram.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Kearney Crane Festival 2015 Allison Tietjen

NEXT.. **SPECIAL FEATURE** Miss Iowa 2014 Aly Olson

To read more about the Miss Nebraska Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.

Little Girls & Big Dreams

Every young woman competing to become Miss Nebraska takes on a personal platform a service; a cause she feels strongly about and spends her year as a local titleholder, and potentially as Miss Nebraska (or Miss America!), advocating for.  Quite often, these platforms come from a very personal place and are something these young women would passionately support with or without a crown.

For today’s featured contestant, her cause is quite simply a message of survival.

OFFICIAL

MISS PANHANDLE 2015 JESSICA LITTLEJOHN

(Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography)

As Miss Panhandle, Jessica shares a story of an abduction attempt when she was a little girl, and how she got away thanks to lessons her mother taught her at that young age.

“This is why I have partnered with ‘Kidpower’,” Jessica told me recently.  “‘Kidpower’ works to create a culture of caring, respect and safety for all by teaching people, especially children, to use their power to stay safe, act wisely and believe in themselves.”

It’s a message Jessica has been spreading for several years now, last year as Miss Kool-Aids Days 2014, (click here to read last year’s feature!), and one she hopes to continue on a much larger scale.

WITH LAYLA AT PRINCESS PARTY

“I have presented ‘Kidpower’ skills to many school children in the school and daycare settings,” said Jessica.  “As Miss America, I would also be able to continue my work with parents, law enforcement and other community organizations concerned with children’s safety.  ‘Kidpower’ teaches the skills that can help prevent exploitation, harassment, molestation and abduction.”

Did you catch that? Jessica talks about being Miss America. She’s aiming big this year, graduating from Eastern Wyoming College this May with a degree in business administration and a license in cosmetology. The Scottsbluff native is also competing in the Miss America Organization for one final time.

“Once I set my mind to something, I do everything I can to make it reality,” said Jessica.  “I was always told if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough, and let me tell you.. I have massive dreams and I plan on achieving each and every one.  My first big dream is being Miss Nebraska 2015.”

SLEEPING AFTER WIN

Jessica is excited to display that determination during Interview, which she says is her favorite part of the competition.

“The judges only have ten minutes to get to know you as a well-rounded young woman,” said Jessica.  “Being quick on your feet, intelligent and creative are all important while trying to show them your personality.  You’re interviewing for the job of Miss Nebraska and you want to show them you’re fully capable and versatile enough to communicate to a crowd of business people or a small group of children.”

An example: Jessica says her past interview questions have included spoon versus fork.. and her position on American foreign policy regarding ISIS.

Fork?

All those interviews and past pageants have given Jessica more than just food for thought.

MEGAN AT ORIENTATION  CHRISSY AT ORIENTATION

Miss Panhandle 2015 Jessica Littlejohn with Miss Omaha 2015 Megan Gould and Miss Western Nebraska 2015 Chrissy Townsend.

“As I prepare for Miss Nebraska for my final year I can’t help but think how much this program has changed my life,” said Jessica.  “Oddly enough, I turned to the Miss Nebraska program to help me through what seemed to be a defining time in my life.  I would either dwell on misfortune or empower myself to strive for better.  Now I am graduating and entering into an industry I love with several career paths available.”

EMILY STADLER AFTER WIN  KACEY, JESSICA, ASPEN AT LITTLE SISTER NEON DANCE PARTY

Jessica hopes young girls across the state who have looked up to her will consider following the same path.

“The Miss America program is one of the largest scholarship providers for young women in the world.  With scholarships I have received from this program I will be graduating debt free!” said Jessica.  “The Miss America Foundation strives to change lives and influence young women across the country, joining education leaders in advocating for more young women to choose science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields of education.

And she wants to remind EVERYONE.. she hopes the path she’s on helps her keep those little girls safe.

“‘Kidpower’ would move the Miss America Organization forward as it already focuses on children and the importance of believe in ‘self’,” said Jessica.  “Nebraska is known for its hard working, humble ‘Get ‘R Done!’ state of mind and I believe I encompass all this and more, and would represent this wonderful state not only at a state level but nationally as well.  As they say, there’s no sky like a Nebraska sky; well, there’s no girl like a Nebraska girl!”

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Follow Miss Panhandle 2015 Jessica Littlejohn

on her Facebok page, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

To contact Jessica for appearances and events, and for information on becoming a future contestant, contact Director Shardel Nelson at 308-760-7266 or by email at shardel@bbc.net.

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The Miss Nebraska Pageant will take place June 3-6, 2015 in North Platte.  Click here to visit the organization’s website, to visit the pageant on Facebook, to follow the pageant on Twitter, and to follow the pageant on Instagram.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Scotts Bluff County’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Grace Heggem

NEXT.. Miss Omaha 2015 Megan Gould

To read more about the Miss Nebraska Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.

She Said Yeah

YEAH..

The Rolling Stones, Joe Nichols, Usher.. they’ve all made that 4-letter word famous in their music.

This guy made a career out of it..

Kool Aid

Kool-Aid Man debuted in 1975, using his signature phrase, “Ohhhhh, yeeeaaaaahhh!” to remind us all how awesome a glass of ice-cold Kool-Aid tastes in the heat of a Nebraska summer.

Where am I going with this?!?!? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Kool-Aid Man’s female (and much cooler) counterpart..

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Miss Kool-Aid Days, Jessica Littlejohn

Ummmm.. Kool-Aid? There’s a ‘Miss Kool-Aid Days’?!?

This local pageant, another preliminary to the Miss Nebraska pageant in June, is named for the festival of the same name that takes place in Hastings every year.  Hastings is the ‘birthplace’ of Kool-Aid.

Make jokes, but Jessica is serious about the business of Miss Nebraska and the Miss America system.

“This program produces well rounded and ready to work individuals striving for the best,” Jessica told me recently.  “I think this  is more relevant now than it has ever been!  This is the biggest scholarship program for young women in the world and with school prices on the rise, it’s a blessing to have the scholarships.  This coming from someone that has literally paid her entire way through school thus far with the scholarships from this program.”

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Jessica’s already had practice with traveling, frequently driving across the state for appearances as Miss Kool-Aid Days.  This is one of her favorite parts of her job, but also leads to some ‘low’ moments.

“The dreaded ‘low fuel’ light that comes on in the car,” said Jessica.  “Being from the west side of the state, many of the appearances and events happen to be on the east side.  Don’t get me wrong, love the drives, love the scenery and love the music blaring on the radio the whole 9-hour trip, but as soon as that light comes on, party’s over!”

Jessica’s had enough gas to make it to Omaha a few times; in the summer of 2013, she, along with several of this year’s Miss Nebraska contestants, was featured on the reality television show ‘Obsessed With The Dress’, recorded at Winning Crown Boutique.

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National TV aside, Jessica uses many of her public events to discuss her platform, ‘Kid Power, Stranger Danger.”

“I was actually taken as a child,” said Jessica.  “My mother had taught me the right actions and she had alerted the authorities and I was returned.  I feel it is my duty to spread the world on how to, one, avoid a danger situation.  Two, to stay safe in a dangerous situation.  Three, what to do in a dangerous situation.  I feel it is worthwhile to teach children, teens and adults to be aware and prepared.”

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DEDICATED, STRONG WILLED, EFFERVESCENT

“I feel like every situation, I try to bring up a positive vibe and I’m naturally a very happy person,” said Jessica.  “I choose to never give up.  I have always set my mind on a task and done all I can to accomplish that.  I’m willing to figure out other options to get a job done.”

Jessica will take that positivity with her to Miss Nebraska; she says ‘the girls’, her fellow competitors, are her favorite part of the pageant.

“They understand you!” said Jessica.  “They have the same goals, they are constantly striving to better themselves and others along their journey.  We understand each other and understand that this is not just a beauty pageant.  We are all talented in our own ways.  I value each of them for that.”

Still, if you ask Jessica is SHE is ready for the job of Miss Nebraska, she could probably sum up her response in a phrase fitting of Miss Kool-Aid Days. OH, YEAH!

“I want this job and that is exactly how I see Miss Nebraska, as a job!” said Jessica.  “The Miss Nebraska program celebrates the unique, diverse, impeccable women that have and will yet compete.  [The program] looks for the ‘it girl’ factor in every girl, and I feel that I possess those qualities.”

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Connect with Miss Kool-Aid Days, Jessica Littlejohn

on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram

You can also follow the Miss Kool-Aid Days Pageant on Facebook and on the web

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The Miss Nebraska pageant takes place June 5-7 in North Platte, Nebraska.  For more information, visit the Miss Nebraska website.

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