Tag Archive | Miss High Plains

When I Grow Up

I’ve written quite a bit lately about young women inspired by strong, beautiful, talented women who came before them.  Over and over again, I’ve heard of these teenagers and college students volunteering, working hard to better themselves, trying to make a difference for others, all because of someone who they saw doing the same thing when they were a little girl.  How often did these girls watch acts of kindness or moments of greatness and think ‘I want to be just like her when I grow up!’

Ladies and gentlemen, THAT is the power of the Miss America Organization.

It’s an endless cycle of GOOD that I’ll share proof of yet again through the story of Cherokee Purviance, an outstanding young woman representing a place she calls ‘the best hometown in America’: Alliance, Nebraska.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“I chose to compete because when I was a little girl, I looked up to Megan Dimmitt, a Miss Nebraska contestant many times in the past, and also my first ever piano teacher,” Cherokee recently told me.  “Role models like Megan drove me to compete and start teaching piano students of my own.”

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Click here to learn more about Megan Dimmitt, Miss High Plains 2014!

With her role model’s complete support, Cherokee pursued Miss America’s partner program, Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, in 2015.  Using the skills Megan taught her, she took the same stage her mentor had for so many years, and competed for one of our state’s top honors.

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Photo courtesy Kamie Stephen for the North Platte Telegraph

Cherokee didn’t take the title, but she went home to Alliance with even more zest for the program she’d heard about for so many years, and everything each titleholder is entrusted to carry out.

“I wrote an essay last year about breaking pageant stereotypes,” said Cherokee.  “One thing that I wrote in that paper was that people who say that pageants are all about the beauty, clearly have never experienced the MAO Teen organization.  This organization has taught me to grow in my passion for my platform.”

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Yes, despite an extensive piano background and a self-described knack for music, art and history, this program fueled Cherokee’s desire to serve and help others.  When she was crowned Miss Alliance’s Outstanding Teen 2016, Cherokee was determined to increase her efforts to spread awareness of dyslexia

“I chose this as my platform because it is something I struggle with everyday that doesn’t get enough attention from parents and teachers,” said Cherokee.  “I have strengths other students don’t because I am dyslexic.  I am more artistic and musically inclined than students without dyslexia.  Dyslexia is my greatest struggle and my greatest strength.  I am passionate about teaching this to other teens, possibly preventing drastic measures such as suicide due to thinking they are not smart or are ‘stupid’.”

Cherokee has also volunteered to help children in need shop for Christmas paresents, she’s taken part in local Girl Scout events, and helped with community activities across Alliance.  She is wrapping up her sophomore year at Alliance High School, where she’s in show choir and the school musical and she accompanies her choir on piano.  In addition, Cherokee plays tennis, dances and paints (her work was recently recognized by Nebraska 4H!)

At all of these events.. someone small is watching Cherokee.  In Alliance and perhaps elsewhere, there are undoubtedly little girls looking up to her, just as she looked up to Megan years ago.  And just as her mentor stood under the bright lights at Miss Nebraska stage and inspired someone else.. Cherokee hopes to now hear those same words, ‘when I grow up’.. as Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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Photo courtesy Just Shoot Me Photographics

“I would be a great role model for children and teens of all ages,” said Cherokee.  I would be able to spread word of my platform to parents, teachers and [those] close to my heart, teens and children whose self esteem has been brought down because they no longer think they’re smart.  I would be give me the chance to promote my platform on a wider spectrum and to be an advocate for those suffering children and teens.”

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WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CHEROKEE?

2015 * Girls And Dolls

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 maot.alliance@gmail.com.

For more information on becoming a Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen contestant, contact Director Heather Edwards at heatheraloseke@gmail.com or Director Kali Tripp at kalinicoletv@gmail.com.

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The 2016 Miss Nebraska Scholarship Pageant takes place June 8-11 in North Platte, Nebraska.  Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER and ON INSTAGRAM.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Kearney 2016 Stacy Pospisil!

NEXT.. Miss Fur Trade Days 2016 Alex O’Connor!

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!

Girls And Dolls

Raise your hand if YOU LOVED BARBIES as a little girl.

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Now raise your hand if you’re a 34-year old who cried when Dumbledore died.

Go ahead and judge.

I LOVED Barbies.  I would sit for hours in my room, living out an imaginary day for my dolls in their fantastic Barbie dream house.  To this day, when a little girl I know has a birthday, I pick out a Barbie for her gift.  It’s an American classic, but not without controversy.  Some say these dolls are a poor representation of what women should be, an unfair lesson taught to little girls about who they should strive to become.

Ironically, many say the same things about pageants.  While I certainly cannot speak for all of them, I would argue the merits of the Miss America Organization outweigh the negatives.  I challenge those who hold stereotypes about the women and teens who compete to get to know them, learn what they are doing in their communities, find out what they are doing right now as the Miss Nebraska and Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant draws ever so close.

Or, keep reading.. and meet the girl from Alliance who could teach Barbie a thing or two.

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MISS NORTHWEST’S OUTSTANDING TEEN 2015 CHEROKEE PURVIANCE

(Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography)

“The [stereotype] that I see a lot is that the girls who are in pageants are unintelligent Barbie dolls who only care about their appearance,” Cherokee told me recently.  “I am a young, beautiful and intelligent girl who values her appearance but values her education more.”

I just want to reiterate what Cherokee said.. I am a young, beautiful and intelligent girl.  Now THAT is what I like to hear!! Confidence, articulation and clear priorities radiate from this young woman.  She’s been guided by strong female leaders her whole life, including several Miss Nebraskas and Miss Nebraska contestants.

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Cherokee meeting Miss Nebraska 2011 Kayla Batt-Jacox the night she won the state title, and meeting Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan when she attended Miss Nebraska. Cherokee was 11 years old.

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“My piano teacher is Sue Dimmitt.  Her daughter Megan Dimmitt did pageants and I grew up watching her on stage,” said Cherokee, pictured above with Megan at the Miss Nebraska pageant in 2011; click here to read my profile on Megan when she served as Miss High Plains 2014.  “When Sue asked me if I wanted to do that someday, I said yes.”

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Becoming a local titleholder offers Cherokee an opportunity to pay forward the life skills she took from other important women in her life.

“My biggest supporters include my mom, my godmother, Jerry Mathistad, and finally, Krista and Chloe,” said Cherokee.  “Krista Blumenthal was and in a way still is my dyslexia tutor and is always there to help if I need anything.”

DYSLEXIA; Cherokee sees words differently than many of us, a disorder making reading especially difficult.  She is now working to make sure other children get the help she received, creating images and flyers to spread awareness of dyslexia.

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“I have been talking to as many parents as I can about the warning signs of dyslexia and where to get their child tested,” said Cherokee.  “Right now, I am working on a fundraiser to get children tested for free who may not have the money to do so otherwise.  i want to raise as much money as possible by October, which is Dyslexia Awareness month, then we’ll reward a few children with the opportunity.”

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Cherokee has also taken part in several community activities as Miss Northwest’s OT, including the Chadron State College Homecoming parade and the Miss America Free Cone Day to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.  She’s only 15 years old, and she’s done all of this in addition to activities at Alliance High School including show choir, drama, tennis, golf, art club and upward bound club.

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“Outside of school I attend four dance classes a week, take piano lessons and teach piano lessons of my own,” said Cherokee.  “If there is ever a time when I’m bored I just sit down and paint.”

A young lady with a sense of style, adding she’s proud of the fashion sense that makes her unique. (“Audrey Hepburn is my fashion icon!” said Cherokee.)  However, evening gown isn’t what Cherokee likes most in this whole pageant experience.

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“My favorite part of competing in the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant would have to be the months leading up to the pageant when all of the contestants get to know one another and form friendships,” said Cherokee.  “The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant brings out the best in all of the girls who compete and that is what I love about it.”

Let’s think back on why we all played with Barbies in the first place.  Barbie herself, while beautiful, was the plastic perfection we all wish we could be sometimes, right? Always smiling, hair and makeup always in place, and no lie–a body that is always in great shape? YES, PLEASE!  But here’s the thing (at least for me), I didn’t ever think about that stuff as a little girl.  I wanted to change their outfits, to play ‘house’, to act out the dreams and adventures I wanted to have myself.  Maybe Barbie was driving somewhere in her convertible.  Maybe she was heading to work.  Maybe she was taking care of her baby.  And I’d argue what my Barbie did was different than every other little girl’s.

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Each of the young women competing for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen has different goals, dreams and messages, yet they are all great representations of the ‘inner Barbie’ in all of us. Cherokee’s sweet smile blossoms from her happiness within.  She’s a young woman standing tall from her confidence and drive. A 15-year old with the whole world at her fingertips and gorgeous, powerful women leading her way.

“Even though I’m only 15, I try not to let my age get in the way of what I want to do with my life,” said Cherokee.  “All I want to do is make a difference in the world.  I don’t know what it will be yet, but it will be awesome.”

You know what sounds awesome?  More awesome than Barbie?  MISS NEBRASKA’S OUTSTANDING TEEN.  Cherokee and 10 of Nebraska’s best arrive in North Platte to compete one week from today.

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Follow Miss Northwest’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Cherokee Purviance and contact her for appearances and events on the Miss Chadron/Miss Northwest’s Outstanding Teen Facebook page.

Click here for a special feature on Cherokee on the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Facebook page!

For more information about how to become a contestant, contact Director Riki Hunter at 308-430-4355 or by email at maoteenchadron@gmail.com.

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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 Chadron’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Shelby Blundell

NEXT.. Miss Kearney Crane Festival’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Merrilee Prill

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.

Flying High

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I do not have adequate words for how awesome this is.  Thank you, Brittany Hannema, for sharing it!

We don’t have to compete with anyone.  Simply by being the best people we can be individually, we create an amazing world together.

So, think of the Miss Nebraska pageant like the state’s most beautiful garden of flowers.

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The Miss Nebraska Class of 2014

(photo courtesy Miss Nebraska 2013 JaCee Pilkington)

As promised, this post kicks off a series of features showcasing each of the fantastic young women participating in the Miss Nebraska pageant in June.

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Miss High Plains, Megan Dimmitt

I first met Megan a few years ago when I was asked to judge the Miss Omaha pageant; Megan was a contestant.  I was blown away by her wit, intelligence and down-to-earth personality.  I’ve kept in touch with Megan ever since, and if there’s one thing that stands out to me, it’s her level of service.  Megan has raised an unprecedented $10,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network, and spends hours each week volunteering in addition to work and time studying as a graduate student at UNO.

“I have always been very involved in volunteer work in my community,” Megan recently told me.  “Once I became a titleholder, I realized that the volunteer work that I was doing before could be elevated to a much higher level.”

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Megan’s ‘Tea With the Queen’ fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network.  Megan is a weekly staff volunteer at Children’s Hospital in Omaha.

TRUE GRIT, MAXIMIZER, PROBLEM SOLVER

“I make the most out of my time and energy and always give 110%,” said Megan.  “I make no excuses and always work past any challenge that comes my way.”

One of those challenges for Dimmitt used to the be the Lifestyle and Fitness portion of the pageant.. aka the dreaded Swimsuit Competition. <cue scary music>>

“I have battled with my weight for a long time; I was about 60 pounds overweight as a young teen,” said Megan.  “When I first started competing in pageants, I was solely focused on being as small as I could be.  As time went on, I realized training in that way was not working for me, so I took a different approach.  I started body building.  This year, instead of losing weight, I’ve put on twenty pounds of lean muscle mass.  I have worked so hard with my nutrition and strength training program and I cannot wait to show that to the judges and audience come June.”

Watch Megan’s workout!

A BELIEF IN HAPPY ENDINGS

Megan’s personal journey with self image and transformation was the inspiration for her mission of service with the Miss America system, a platform she calls Believe in Happy Endings – Goal Setting For The Future.  She credits a basketball coach who helped her confront weight issues by keeping a fitness journal and setting goals.

“In time, I became healthy, my grades were back on track and I had regained the stability that I had lost,” said Megan.  She now mentors kids in an at-risk after-school program, encouraging them to not only identify goals, but to create timelines and complete steps to achieve them.  Her ultimate goal is to earn her doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology and open her own practice.

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THERE SHE IS..

I am asking each of the Miss Nebraska contestants why you, my readers (and THANK YOU for reading!!) should care about what they are doing.  Why you should follow Miss Nebraska?  Why is Miss America still relevant in 2014??

“This teaches young women to set goals for themselves, learn the art of public speaking and the importance of selflessly serving others in need,” answered Megan.  “We learn all of these important lessons, while earning scholarship money for ourselves.  I graduated debt free from Chadron State College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice just because of the scholarship money I received from this amazing organization.”

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Connect with Miss High Plains, Megan Dimmitt

on Facebook, Instagram or by email: megdimmitt@yahoo.com

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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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NEXT POST….  Miss Gering, Alexis Smith!