Tag Archive | MOther’s Day

Glass Half Full

I’d like you to meet my friend, Chinh.

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Chinh is one of our lead reporters here at KETV.  She is tenacious, driven, she runs at 100% non-stop to use every waking moment to her advantage.  She is also bubbly, kind, and one of the most caring people I have ever met.  A few days before Mother’s Day, Chinh gave me M&M’s (have I mentioned how much I love treats!?!?) and a card with the sweetest message EVER.  No matter what terrible story she’s covered that day or what she’s facing, she is always upbeat and POSITIVE.  That’s terrific; factor in Chinh’s childhood and it’s hands down INSPIRING.

Chinh Doan’s father fought for the South Vietnamese Army during the war.  So did her mother’s first husband.  Both faced persecution by North Vietnames soldiers once the war ended, ripping their marriages and families apart.  They survived poverty,  POW camps, oppression, and hoped to start over when they found each other.  They married, and Chinh was born on Christmas Day 1989.  Chinh treasures early memories like riding on the front of her father’s bicycle in urban Vietnam as a toddler, but life was hard, very hard.  When the United States offered an opportunity for POW’s like Chinh’s father to move, the family was thrilled, until they learned only Chinh and her father would be allowed to move.  Once again, a family was torn apart, this time, so their little girl would have a chance at the American Dream.

Chinh’s father found a job as a janitor at an Oklahoma City newspaper; Chinh poured over every article her father brought home, and learned English by watching local news every night.  17 years later, just 6 days before she received her journalism degree as “Outstanding Senior” from the University of Oklahoma, Chinh’s mom moved to the United States.

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CLICK HERE to read more of Chinh’s story in her own words, published by the Asian American News last year.

Chinh and Tu are two of the happiest, most grateful people I have ever met.  They emit sheer joy.. and after every event in their presence, you leave feeling more optimistic about.. well, EVERYTHING!  PROOF of the power of positivity.  Or as teenager Emma Young likes to call it, ‘Positivity In The Face Of Negativity.”

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“I was born with a condition called Strabismus, which is where the eyes cross,” Emma told me recently.  “I have had issues off and on with being bullied for years.  I had also had close firends who have gone through depression and at times, have contemplated suicide.  My platform encourages being kind to everyone, because you never know what people are really going through.”

Emma, a North Platte, Nebraska native, had two constants in her life as a young child.. eye surgeries to fix her condition, and the Miss Nebraska Pageant, which Emma’s family has been involved for years.

with little sister

“I had the opportunity to be in the Little Sisters program,” said Emma, shown above in the 2009 pageant with her Big Sister, titleholder Jessica Brock.  “I think I was hooked then!  I love being on stage, and the whole week was glamorous and exciting!”

But at a very early age, Emma also recognized the responsibilities of a crown and sash off stage, through volunteering and service to others.

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When she became Miss Platte River’s Outstanding Teen 2016, Emma completely devoted herself to community.

“I was able to help girls select prom dresses and formals through a Lincoln County Child Abuse Prevention Council event, Dresses for a Cause.  In turn, I was invited to serve on their Youth Council Board,” said Emma.  “Also, through this organization, I met a great 5th grade boy who is alsot trying to spread kindness by purchasing Buddy Benches for schools in our community.  I have been able to speak to civic groups for him, to help him raise money to purchase them.  This is an ongoing project!”

Emma also delivered meals on Christmas Day, and volunteered for a recent fundraiser for her school district.  She’s a certified Kiwanis Key Leader, and now serves on the Junior Ambassador Leadership Committee, helping to choose future youth volunteers and projects for the group.  She’s a frequent visitor to schools to talk about positivity in both words and action.

“Something fun I have been able to do is crete ‘Kindness Jars’ and have students make these when I speak to them,” said Emma.  “Each jar is decorated by the student and inside they put actions they can do to show kindness to others.  Then later, they can pull an act of kindness from their jar and do it!”

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One of Emma’s favorite places to volunteer is her local hospital, where she’s been giving back ever since those surgeries as a small child.

“I am a Junior Volunteer at Great Plains Health (our local hospital), 5 hours each week in the Emergency Room,”  I love being able to help people feel more comfortable about being in a stressful situation.  I have always watned to be a doctor.  When I was 3 years old, I asked my parents for a toy crash cart for Christmas!  Being a volunteer at the hospital has allowed me to experience many aspects of the medical field.  The only way I will miss going to the hospital to volunteer is if I am sick!”

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Emma’s efforts have not gone unnotice, featured by the North Platte Telegraph in March for all of her hard work.  (Click here to read Kamie Stephen’s article!)

All of that time volunteering comes in addition to school and North Platte High activities, including National Honor Society (Emma’s the Publicity Chairman), Key Club (she’s Editor), Speech and Debate, Orchestra, Concert Choir and Drama.  Emma also spends several hours a week dancing, taking lessons since the age of 7.

Emma Ballet

A true testament that Emma is living what she preaches come in her own answer, when asked WHY she does all this??

“Competing in the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant has given me the opportunity to make connections that I may not have had, if I had not been competing,” said Emma.  “In setting up appearances and speaking about my platform, I had had to contact promiment leaders in my community.  Every one of them has been gracious and kind.  I have also made some great friends in the other contestants.  We encourage each other to be the best we can be.  I think competing has also taught me to be resilient and to never give up.  I am so grateful that I have this opportunity and have chosen to follow this path.  It is not easy, but the rewards, both big and small, are worth every ounce of effort I have put into it.”

How often do we hear from people who feel entitled to what they believe BELONGS to them?  Things they think they should just HAVE, that it’s their RIGHT?  And how often do we witness, in others and in ourselves, instant and toxic negativity when we don’t get what we feel should just happen?

Not from Chinh.  No entitlement.  No complaining.  Never even a frown or a negative word.  In addition to her full-time career at KETV, Chinh is also a CONSTANT presence in the Omaha area, a member of Junior League and the Omaha Press Club, even recognized as one of 10 Outstanding Young Omahans in 2015.

They are separated by age, distance and backgrounds, but much of the same holds true for Emma.  No talk of what she deserves, no complaining about the hand life dealt her.  Just hard work, a focus on others, and a CONSTANT smile.  To people like Emma and Chinh it’s a no brainer–the glass is ALWAYS half full.  And Emma Young is ready to take that optimistic attitude and message across the state as Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.

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“The Nebraska Tourism Board has a new slogan, Nebraska Nice,” said Emma.  “I feel that should describe every Miss Nebraska contestant, Miss or Teen.  I know there were, and still are, many times I wished that someone would say something nice to me, just to make me feel better.  I try to be that person now, because I know how much it means.”

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CLICK EACH LINK to follow Miss Platte River’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Emma Young

on Facebookon Instagram, and on Twitter.  You can also email Emma for appearances and events at missplatteriversot@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’s Outstanding Teen Pageant takes place June 10 in North Platte, Nebraska.  Learn more on THEIR WEBSITE, FACEBOOK PAGE, or follow ON TWITTER and ON INSTAGRAM.

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PREVIOUS.. Miss Scotts Bluff County’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Carsyn Long!

NEXT.. Miss Western Nebraska 2016 Marie Allison

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!

Little Big Shots

Confession:  I ADORE KIDS.  Especially my own, but really, all babies and toddlers.  They are so innocent, sweet, cuddly, all of the above!  When I see a child doing something uber-impressive, like singing or dancing, I simply MELT from cuteness overload!

Case in point.. my friends Amanda and Bill’s little girl, JoJo.  At just 3 years old, this sweet thing is an AMAZING singer!!  She’s got an innate gift for remember lyrics and melodies, and was simply BORN to be a star!  When she sings her first national anthem at an Omaha Storm Chasers game, I will be the FIRST in line to buy my ticket!

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CLICK HERE to hear JoJo’s rendition of the national anthem (the hand gestures?!?!? I MELT!!)

Some kids just HAVE it, they have a special gift in their heart to perform.  At just 11 years old, Carsyn Long was selected to sing for Nebraska’s Miss America, Teresa Scanlan.

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Photo courtesy Jenn Cady Photography

“Funny story: I went to use the restroom and of course, in walks Miss America herself!” Carsyn told me recently.  “As soon as she walked in, I was completely starstruck!  She ended up talking to me and touching me on the shoulder, and I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I ran out of the bathroom crying!”

A fitting encounter.. Teresa, the youngest Miss Nebraska ever crowned and the youngest Miss America since 1937, inspiring a girl who would become ‘the youngest’ in many of her future endeavours.

“At that time and still to this day, Teresa represented everything I wanted to be as a woman,” said Carsyn.  “Not only did Teresa exemplify the four points of the crown wonderfully (as I hope to do), but she sparked a fire in an 11-year old girl that has gotten me involved with this organization and has made me the young woman I am today.”

THIS organization.. is the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen pageant.

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Carsyn was crowned Miss Scotts Bluff County’s Outstanding Teen 2016 last summer, right before she started her sophomore year at Gering High School.

“I love anything and everything that has to do with performing,” said Carsyn.  “Put me on a stage, and I’m at home.”

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Photo courtesy Shayla’s Photography

At Gering High, Carsyn is involved with her school’s theater department, harmony show choir and speech team.  This year, she became the youngest person on the speech team to medal at state, winning Nebraska’s Class B title for Oral Interpretation of Drama.

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Carsyn’s fellow state champion and dear friend is also the woman who encouraged her to compete for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen, Allison Baird, who became Miss Scotts Bluff County the same night Carsyn was crowned.

“My role model without a doubt is my older sister queen (and your future Miss Nebraska!) Allison Baird,” said Carsyn.  “This girl is absolutely incredible.  She is such a Godly girl and offers her whole heart to anything she does.  I truly admire her wisdom, drive and her belief in others.  Allie is part of the reason I ever competed in my first pageant in August!”

As Allison set out to spread awareness of her platform, (Click here to learn more!), Carsyn also prepared a personal message and campaign to share with others.

“My platform is called the ‘Heart of Art: Keeping Fine Arts In Schools’,” said Carsyn.  “Performing is something I’m really passionate about and so I wanted to incorporate that into my platform.  Through my platform I’m creating awareness, working towards improving funding, and offering more opportunities for kids like myself who have found their niche in performing.  Even in my school, our fine arts program could use some improving, so that really motivated me as well to make a change.”

Carsyn has attended community events, spoken at schools, and volunteered through her area (in the picture above right, delivering flowers to brand new moms in the hospital on Mother’s Day!)

“The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Organization has really been a strong outlet for me to reach several different audiences while promoting my platform and volunteering,” said Carsyn.  “I hae been able to offer my talents and time as well.  I’ve really been opened up to so many new opportunities and have made some amazing friends along the way.  Through this organization, I’ve been able to improve my poise and social skills.  I’ve truly been able to carry out the concept that it isn’t the crown that makes you a queen, but it’s what you possess in your heart.”

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Carsyn Long has a heart for art.. a passion for singing and speaking, and a drive to pursue her goals and dreams until they are reality.  Those are big goals for a young lady who just turned 16.. but remember, some kids just HAVE IT.

“I want to have the kind of impact that Teresa had on me to young girls,” said Carsyn.  “As Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen, I would be able to promote my platform, the Heart Of Art, but I would also be able to leave the legacy and impact I have always strived for in this program and to people everywhere.”

SUNNY FRECKLES PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo courtesy SunnyFreckles Photography

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CLICK HERE to follow Miss Scotts Bluff County’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Carsyn Long on Facebook

For more information about the Miss Scotts Bluff County Pageant, CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page and HERE on their website. For information on becoming a contestant, contact Director Cheryl Engelhaupt by phone at 308-783-2940 or at 308-635-8615.

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 Fur Trade Days 2016 Alex O’Connor!

NEXT.. Miss Platte River’s Outstanding Teen 2016 Emma Young!

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!