Tag Archive | miss crane festival

When I See You Smile

There are some people in the world who can literally light up a room with their smile.  Take one of my best friends, Melissa.. no matter where we are or what time we are at in our lives, her smile makes everyone around her smile.  She is PURE JOY, pure sheer goodness, and that positivity just radiates out of her.

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My best friends and I at Omaha Fashion Week.  Melissa is the hottie second from the right.  Thanks to Herb Thompson for the photo!

I first saw the young lady you’re about to meet when she competed in the Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County’s Outstanding Teen pageant last fall, where she finished 1st Runner Up.  From that night on, I continued to follow her over social media through the pageant where she would win her own title, and I don’t think this teen HAS EVER STOPPED SMILING.

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MISS PLATTE VALLEY’S OUTSTANDING TEEN 2015 EMMA KATE BROWN

(Photo courtesy J Allen Photography)

Now, as I read my interview with Emma Kate and see what’s behind that smile, her attitude not only inspires me.. she’s kinda knocking my socks off.  Emma Kate is fighting two chronic illnesses, Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.

“I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was three years old, so we’ve been doing gluten free at our house before it was trendy,” joked Emma Kate.  “I cannot eat wheat, barley, oats, malt or flour.”  (For more on what Celiac Disease is, click here to read my interview with Miss Crane Festival 2014 & Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2012 Lianna Prill.)

Emma Kate has also been an ambassador for Diabetes awareness and research long before her pageant days, appearing on KETV First News for an interview with John Oakey several years ago.

“Something else unique about me is my love for public speaking!  I had a great time talking with John Oakey and showing him my dance moves,” said Emma Kate.  “I wasn’t nervous a bit, but I do think my interview skills have improved.”

She’s getting plenty of practice; Emma Kate is also a youth ambassador for the JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

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Emma Kate: ‘Had a great time this morning volunteering for my favorite group, the JDRF. Met this little girl who was diagnosed with diabetes two months ago. She inspires me by how strong she is facing such a life changing disease. Loved getting to talk about my story and hearing hers.’

“My platform is turning Type 1 into Type None and it is about raising awareness and funding for a cure to Type 1 Diabetes,”
said Emma Kate.  “[It] allows me to tell my story to businesses in the area.  I also volunteer at JDRF events throughout the year.”

(For more about Diabetes and fundraising efforts in the Omaha area, click here to read my interview with former Husker Jay Foreman regarding his work with the Foreman Foundation, as well as Diabetes services through Nebraska Medicine.)

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Until I heard about all of this from Emma Kate during our interview, I had NO IDEA she faced challenges like this.  The 16-year old junior at Elkhorn South High School is on the go NONSTOP, participating on the dance team, in show choir, concert choir, in speech and in National Honor Society.  This year alone, Emma Kate starred in Shrek the Musical as Princess Fiona, and took part in a grueling competition schedule with Elkhorn South Blackout (the varsity show choir), including trips to regionals and then nationals in Chicago.

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And off stage, when she’s not volunteering, there’s yet ANOTHER side to this girl.

“Even thought I am super focused and goal-driven, I love to get lost in a great book,” said Emma Kate.  “I love the ‘Matched’ series, the ‘Selection’ series and the ‘Red Queen’ series.  One of my proudest moments would be when I recently got a group of my friends to start reading as much as I do.  Now we talk about books at our lunch table and it’s so much fun.”

One of those friends is Emma Kate’s fellow dance team member and Blackout star, Morgan Holen, the current Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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“Morgan encouraged me to compete in an upcoming pageant.  I was hooked after my first pageant experience in November.  I was so impressed by the whole organization that I knew I wanted to take part in it,” said Emma Kate.  “I enjoy meeting like-minded, successful girls my age and learning about their platforms and experiences.  All the girls are so kind and I have made lifelong friends.”

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That is Emma Kate’s message to other teens who may read this; she wants to encourage them just as Morgan encouraged her.

“This program is relevant because there are more girls like me and other contestants who can benefit from the scholarships, volunteer opportunities and sisterhood of the pageants.”

I agree with Emma Kate on the positives that come from the Miss America Organization.  I DISAGREE with her that there are other girls like her.  That smile is simply one of a kind; welcoming, full of life, excited about what every day could bring.  She’s got ‘Outstanding’ on that sash for a reason.. and Emma Kate Brown is ready to prove it in North Platte.

Emma Kate Dance Team Pic (original)

(Photo courtesy Deyo’s Photography)

Follow Miss Platte Valley’s Outstanding Teen Emma Kate Brown, and contact Emma Kate for appearances or events via Facebook, Instagram and on Twitter.

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The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place June 5, 2015 in North Platte.  Click here to visit the organization’s website or the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook and on Twitter.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Northwest 2015 LaRissa McKean

NEXT.. Miss Gering 2015 Kaylee Carlberg

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

All-American Girl

If you’ve been reading about each of this year’s Miss Nebraska and Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestants, THANK YOU!! And perhaps you’ve noticed, even questioned why, many of these local titleholders do not live in or have ties to the areas they are representing.  How does that work??

Today’s featured titleholder is a PERFECT example.  Her hometown of Chester, Nebraska, sitting right on the Nebraska/Kansas border, had an estimated 232 people at the time of the 2010 census.  2.1% of those were between the ages of 18-24.  Half of those, young ladies.  That’s two and a half women eligible to compete for Miss America.  Kinda hard to have a local pageant with 2.5 contestants.. leaving talented, driven young women with dreams of Miss America looking outside of town.

This young lady looked north.

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MISS KEARNEY CRANE FESTIVAL 2015 ALLISON TIETJEN

(Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography)

“I joke that since there is no Miss Chester, Miss Kearney is for sure the next best thing,” Allison told me recently.  “I have tried to make the trip to Kearney for appearances as often as I can.”

Veterans Day

And Allison has traveled much farther than that now very familiar 2-hour road trip.  Click here: last year as Miss Heartland 2014, Allison told me about her trip to Washington DC with a plane of Vietnam War veterans as part of a Nebraska honor flight.  Supporting and spreading awareness of American veterans is important to Allison, the focus of her personal platform ‘United We Stand: Remembering Our Veteran Heroes’.

“It really is the reason why I am competing today, knowing that I can truly help students understand and appreciate the service and commitment of our US military,” said Allison.  “I want to help kids have an overall sense of gratitude towards our military.”

Flags  Mrs. Simpsons

Allison has visited a number of schools, each time ready with a ‘lesson plan’ to give kids a hands-on experience that will also benefit veterans.  Allison calls it the Miss Crane Festival Flag Challenge.

“First, I have an open discussion with students over the military branches,” said Allison.  “Then, while we are making flags, I ask them what they think the American flag represents and what our flag means to them.  On the back of their flag I ask all the students to write a thank you note to a veteran, and this is where I challenge them to give it to a veteran.  I always ask the students to share with me if they deliver a flag and I have been amazed by the responses I have received back.”

Daddy Daughter Date  Girl Scouts

Allison, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln student active with Alpha Phi, also earned the Gold Award with Girl Scouts, the highest rank a female scout can achieve (comparable to the elite Eagle Scout ranking for male scouts.) She continues to volunteer with and advocate for the organization.

“Girl Scouts has been such a huge part of my life growing up that I want to encourage as many young girls I can to not only join, but to stay involved with it even when they get older,” said Allison.  “Girl Scouts and the Miss America Organization truly have the same goals in mind: creating great female leaders and community service.”

Pipe Cleaner Crowns  Dance Marathon CMD

Allison considers all of this community service a privilege, not a chore.  In her interview with me, she talked about raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network, and playing piano for the Eastern Nebraska Veterans Home using phrases like ‘I get to.’  While you can see in these pictures and feel from Allison’s stories the impact she’s likely having, she describes her own growth as a person as immeasurable.

“Competing for Miss Nebraska has been one of the best decisions I have ever made,” said Allison.  “Miss Nebraska and the Miss America Organization are relevant because [they] truly change young women’s lives in a positive way.  Overall, our year of service and experiences outweigh any scholarship that we will receive, although those are really amazing as well!”

Hockey Game

Miss Kearney Crane Festival 2015 Allison Tietjen (R) with Miss Kearney Crane Festival’s Outstanding Teen Merrilee Prill

Allison’s advice to anyone following her journey is find what you love and put it to good use.  When her small town of 232 didn’t have a road to Miss America, she found one that did.  But make no mistake; Allison will always find her path back the ‘Village of Quilts’, the ‘Gateway to Nebraska’.  I think it’s a safe bet no matter what title is on her sash, Chester, Nebraska will always call Miss Kearney Crane Festival, Girl Scout, champion for veterans, Allison Tietjen, THEIR Miss America.

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(Photo courtesy Russtanna Photography)

Follow Miss Kearney Crane Festival 2015 Allison Tietjen

on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

To contact Allison about appearances and events, and for more information on the Miss Kearney Crane Festival Pageant click here to visit the organization on Facebook.

For information on becoming a future contestant, contact Directors Megan Goeke and Jenna Lukasiewitz at 308-708-0678 or by email at megan@hellobeautifulbridal.com.

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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 Omaha 2015 Megan Gould

NEXT.. Miss Sandhills 2015 Kate Lynne Duncan

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

Fueling the Journey

Someone once told me, ‘you eat like an 8-year old!’

It’s true.  I am a junk food junkie.

It is one of my constant resolutions; to EAT HEALTHIER.  After all, this 33-year old metabolism is NOT what is used to be!!

I want to eat smarter to look better, to feel better, and to set an example for my boys.  I want to set reasonable goals, still allotting for a little (or a lot) of cheating from time to time.

Today’s featured Miss Nebraska contestant doesn’t have that luxury.  For a decade, food led to endless pain and discomfort.  Everything she ate contributed to a puzzle that took ten years to piece together.  Now, she’s determined to save others from the same struggle.

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Miss Crane Festival, Lianna Prill

Lianna has Celiac Disease, a genetic autoimmune disease which causes damage to the lining of the small intestine, preventing absorption of parts of food important for staying healthy.

“Since the first grade, I would lie on the bathroom floor every night with constant migraines, sinus infections, stomach issues, etc,” Lianna told me recently.  “After countless tests, MRI’s, CAT scans, chiropractic treatments, you name it, no one had any answers for me.”

Ten years later, Lianna’s father was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. (He suffered similar problems for 25 years.)  Lianna discovered she also matched the criteria, like the 1 in every 133 people in America living with the disease.  Lianna says on average, it takes 6-10 years to be properly diagnosed.  She encourages all to check out the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

“Three years later (and for life), I still adhere to a strict gluten and dairy-free diet and am a new woman,” said Lianna.  It likely comes as no surprise, ‘Celiac Disease: Experiencing Gluten Freedom’ is Lianna’s personal platform of service.

“Currently the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Gluten Free Industry Initiatives Intern for Nebraska, I share life-saving information with Lincoln Public Schools, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the state,” said Lianna.  “Last spring, I became a D.J.’s Hero from this platform, and am proud to be a part of NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens and Schools program, training universities, campuses and restaurants across the nation to safely prepare gluten-free meals for customers and students.”

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Lianna’s work also contributed to her winning the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen title in 2012.  She first sought out the program with a passion for singing and performing.

“Where there’s a stage, there’s Lianna Prill,” she said.  “Integrating my 4-H sewing fashion modeling, my work ethic from showing cattle, speaking skills from speech team, fitness from a medically necessary healthy lifestyle, a platform to save lives and a need for scholarships for college, it was a no-brainer.”

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Lianna also has a personal connection to Miss America’s community partner, Children’s Miracle Network.

“This hits close to home as my younger twin sisters were born at one and two pounds,” said Lianna.  “Years later after their micro-preemie survival, our family was involved in the Children’s Miracle Network Telethon in Omaha.  Miss Nebraska was made for me.”

VIVACIOUS, STELLAR, SPITFIRE

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Lianna’s personal triumphs have also helped shape the woman she has become.  Shortly after her Celiac diagnosis, she survived a car accident near Bertrand, Nebraska.

“A pickup blew a stop sign, hit me (I was driving) and we spun several times landing in a ditch and totaling my car,” said Lianna.  “I crawled out of the passenger seat, because I was trapped in the driver’s seat.  Struggling with an undiagnosed genetic autoimmune disease for ten years and surviving a possibly fatal car crash both made me fight as an advocate for my health and cherish every moment that’s given to me with steadfast faith and spunk.”

They say life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you react to it.  Here’s a young lady who hasn’t let chronic illness or adversity get her down; she’s used every challenge as fuel to be BETTER.  And Lianna is hungry for a new title in North Platte.

“This is a place for women to grow, flourish and bloom into the person they were created to be,” said Lianna.  “Miss Nebraska is a chance for young women to push themselves to become the best version of themselves possible, while representing our state with a good head on her shoulders, class and a hint of sparkle.”

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Connect with Miss Crane Festival, Lianna Prill

on Facebook, Instagram and by email at lprill@celiaccentral.org

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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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