Sunday, March 28, 2010

Busy Weekend!

Last weekend started off with a visit to the Peter Frederick Salon of Bristol, who has generously offered their services to Sarah and me during our year. I got a trim and a little angle in the front of my hair. It was great talking to them, and I'm so appreciative that they are such a wonderful sponsor of the Miss Bristol Scholarship Organization.
I then met all the Bristol girls at Chippens Hill Middle School, where we stuffed bags with papers and goodies for hours. We must have done over a thousand bags! Luckily, there were many other volunteers there to help, and we made the experience into a fun time. I also received my order of Girl Scout Cookies from Tabitha...too bad I'll have to freeze mine until after Miss Connecticut!
The next day started at 8 am back at the middle school for the Shamrock Run. We set up our booth and chatted with a few runners, including Alyscia Talbot, before the race. The kids race was first. It was adorable to see kids of all ages running a lap around the school. Some of the participants were so young they had just gotten the hang of walking. Next was the 2 mile race, which went by very quickly. One the runners started pouring in, it was our job to take their name tag and in return give them a souvenir glass with a coupon for Rita's ice cream in it. There were so many runners that we had to set asside boxes of the glasses in order to ensure that we would have some for the 5 mile runners as well! While the 5 mile race took place, Sarah, Brianna, Meredith, and I took a picture with a giant Dunkin Donuts coffee cup on the back of a car. We didn't have much time before the 5 mile runners got back, so we quickly got back to work. All of the runners did a great job; they were also very friendly and excited to be handed souvenirs from the Miss Bristol Organization! We ran out of glasses, but luckily found one more to give to a 75 year old woman who had run the 5 miles. I was so impressed; I hope I will be able to run 5 miles when I am that age.
I returned to Bristol that evening for a Disney-themed fundraiser at St. Matthew's School. We all dressed as Disney princesses and greeted guests as they walked through the entrance. Thank you to Brittany Decker, who let me borrow one of her old dresses! It was a lot of fun, and many of Meridith's teachers commented on what a lovely young princess she was. We were soon joined by Sharalynn, Miss Connecticut. It was a very enjoyable and fun fundraiser, but we had to leave before it was over in order to attend the Little Miss Rocky Hill Pageant.
Trinette ran in the pageant, and did a fabulous job! I was so impressed by her confidence and poise on stage. Brittany Decker and Kate Ottavio emceed the event, and crowned 8 new titleholders. I was so glad to see so many young women participate in the Miss America Organization. It has so much to offer women of all ages, especially girls who can look up to the older titleholders and role models.
Sunday was another early start: we attended breakfast with the Easter Bunny. Sarah, Brianna, Meridith, and I helped kids decorate plastic Easter eggs with colored markers and glittery stickers. We made many new little friends, including a family with 8 children! Of course, we got a picture with the Easter Bunny before we left. Later that day Linda and I went to the American Legion of Wolcott for Heidi Voight's Talent Show. There were lots of veterans there, enjoying several performances. Miss Southington, Ashley Hayden, performed two numbers and did a beautiful job! A girl named Ariel also performed two dance numbers. I sang a classic french song titled "Si Mes Vers Avaient Des Ailles". I was so glad to be able to entertain those who have served our country as well as raise money for them. It was a very intimate event, and a truely pleasant atmosphere. Thank you Heidi Voight for hosting the talent show!


March started off with a visit to Imagine Nation's new space exhibit, "Out of This World". Trinette and I had a great time and made friends with many of the brownie Girls Scouts who attended. John Sillasen gave an interesting presentation on how telescopes work. He explained that they are simply a series of mirror and magnifying glasses which focus the light into the eye of the telescope. I also got to go outside and take a look in a big telescopes which gave a great view of Mars. It was very visible, and could be distinguished from the stars because of its red tint.
A robotics team showed me how they programed a remote control Lego car to move in a specific direction. They could even make it back up or turn in a circle. Our night ended with a trip to the 3rd floor, which premiered a flight simulation exhibit. It was a dark circular room with several large television screens inside which showed a video of what it is like to travel into space. Once our simulation was over, Trinette and I got a picture with Buzz Lightyear! We were almost ready to head out, but first I had to get a picture inside the big bubble. Luckily, I didn't get soapy.
Linda and I got to talk to so many little girls and parents who were interested in our program. It was great getting to explain all the opportunities that I have received by being a titleholder, and how enriching the Diamond program is for girls who are interested in serving their communities.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mall Madness Girl Scout Day 2010

Yesterday I visited the Enfield Square Mall to spend time celebrating the 98th Birthday of Girls Scouts! I was a Girls Scout when I was little, starting as a Daisy, then a Brownie for several years, and finally a Junior for 2 years. It was great spending time with so many young women! We watched performances by Miss Connecticut, Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen, and several of the other Miss and Teen titleholders of 2010. The East Hartford Dance Club performed a few ballroom dancing numbers, including the samba and the chacha. Everyone did a great job. I had the opportunity to visit many of the Girl Scout booths which each promoted different causes, such as tobacco prevention and tollerance of differences. I had such a great time catching up with the other titleholders, as well as talking to the Girl Scouts. Many of them were really interested in the Miss America Organization, so it was a great opportunity to promote our organization as well as talk about the values we uphold, which are very similar to those in the Girl Scout Organization. Thank you to Gail Mccool for including us in this event!

A Daisy and I

Sarah and I
Titleholders & Girl Scouts

Monday, January 25, 2010

Miss Litchfield County

I spent Saturday attending the two Litchfield County pageants! The first one was Junior Miss Litchfield County, where Jordan Gauvin was crowned! I am so thrilled for Jordan. She competed in our Preteen Miss Bristol pageant, and she is truely a kind, friendly, and talented young lady. To fill in time, Linda and I had a delicious dinner at Olive Garden! We returned to the Thomaston Opera House in time to get great seats for the Miss Litchfield County pageant. The teens were first, and they did a spectacular job! Mary Ragaglia was named Miss Litchfield County's Outstanding teen. She had a beautiful voice and shone on stage throughout the night. Next was the Miss division. I was particularly excited to see many returning girls competing! After a tough competition, Cassandra Mastrianni was crowned Miss Litchfield County 2010. She sang a wonderful rendition of "Girl in 14G". She is certainly a talented, intelligent, and sweet young woman! I was so impressed with all the performances of not only the contestants, but the outgoing titleholders as well, Kirsten Yerger and Brittany Decker. They were lovely emcees for the earlier pageant, and I really enjoyed their farewell performances in the Miss pageant.

The most remarkable moment of the day was the tribute for Courtney Smith. Sarah, Linda, and I were bawling our eyes out as the girls on stage performed Courtney's talent song, "Imagine" by John Lennon. It was very touching to see how Courtney impacted so many people, even without knowing her for much time at all. She is truely missed by the pageant family, and the tribute was very special. Congratulations on a great was a day of pageantry at it's finest!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Miss Connecticut's Send-off

On January 10th, I attended Sharalynn Kuziak's send-off party. I was blown away with her wardrobe! She is sure to make a splash in Las Vegas. We enjoyed hot and cold h'orderves, and entertainment from many former Miss Connecticuts as well as Acacia Courtney. The event was emceed by Marla Prete, who did a great job of entertaining the audience. It was great to see the other titleholders and spend time catching up. My favorite part of the evening was when Sharlynn answered qustions asked by members of the audience. She is so articulate and delibirate with her words; I think that this will truely make her interview at Miss America stand out! Her hard work has definitely paid off and we are so lucky to have such an amazing representative for the state of Connecticut. Best of luck at Miss America!

Courtney Hei-Ra Smith

On January 7, 2010, we lost one of the sweetest, most compassionate people in the world. Courtney Hei-Ra Smith passed away suddenly, and has left many people saddened by her passing. I met Courtney in competing in the Miss Bristol pageant. At rehersals, she was always cheerful, kind, and friendly. I am very fortunate that I got to spend time with such a remarkable young woman. It doesn't seem fair that such a good person with so much left in life to experience could be gone so soon. I keep Courtney's friends and family in my prayers. Rest in peace Courtney.

Ronald McDonald House Winter Wonderland

On January 2, 2010 I hosted my first event at the Ronald McDonald House in New Haven. It was a Winter Wonderland themed party for the kids who were staying at the house. Before the event started, I dropped off the 14 pounds of soda tabs that I had collected thus far. Thank you so much to everyone who helped collect tabs! I am continuing to collect tabs, so please keep saving them.

The event started off with gingerbread house making. We were joined by a little girl named Alejandra. Although she didn't speak much English, she understood how to make a gingerbread house. She ended up making two and decorated them with lots of colorful candies. Alejandra's mother explained that they were staying in the house because Alejandra's baby brother had undergone open-heart surgery recently. I was so glad that we could provide the family with entertainment during their stay at the house.

After making gingerbread houses, we played bingo. Sarah and Brianna helped Alejandra by saying the numbers in Spanish. She ended up winning, and got a stuffed animal as a prize. We were then joined by a little girl named Mia, who got a thrill out of spinning the bingo wheel and chasing after the yellow balls which came out.

Trinette helped the girls make beaded bracelets and necklaces. Alejandra especially had fun helping Trinette find the gold beads she was using in her patterned necklace. Once they were done making jewelry, we were joined by another girl named Lydia. We decorated funfetti cupcakes with multicolored frosting and snowflake sprinkles. Eloise decorated shirts for Alejandra, Mia, and Lydia. She drew a horse on each shirt and used colorful fabric paint and glitter to personalize them for each of the girls.

Before the day was over, Mia enjoyed taking pictures with Sarah's digital camera. Her inner photographer came out as she took hundreds of pictures and even motioned for us to pose with our hands on our hips for her. She was adorable! Thank you so much to everyone who came and helped out...I could not have done it without all the help and support!

Connecticut Children's Medical Center Toy Drive

On December 24, 2009, I attended the last day of the Connecticut Children's Medical Center Toy Drive. I was joined by two of the broadcasters on 102.9 DRC FM, Christina Sciongay (Miss Southern New England), Dana Brooks (Miss Brass City), Tiffany George (Miss Watertown), and Scott Organek. We stood at the entrances of Wal Mart and handed out fliers with suggested toys for different age groups. So many people generously donated toys and cash; I'm sure the patients at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center really appreciated the gifts! I had a blast talking with the other titleholders and supporting such a worthy cause. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!

New Years Celebration

Early on December 31, 2009, Sarah, Trinette, Brianna, Meredith, and I went to Imagine Nation Museum to celebrate the New Year. We first helped cut up ribbon to make confetti, which was later thrown down from the ceiling at the strike of noon.

Then we helped make tissue paper flowers which were used to cover a chicken wire sculpture, which was turned into a float. We recruited a few children to help us make the flowers; we made well over 100 in order to cover the float entirely! We finished just in time to join the parade into the center of the facility, where we then counted down to the strike of noon. As the ball dropped, balloons and confetti showered down.

Once the celebration died down, we joined a game that the DJ was hosting. The DJ played a song from a TV show and the group who could name the TV show first won. Meredith's mom scored big for our team; we made it to the top two! Just as the game finished, the fire alarm went off and we had to evacuate the building. We decided to leave instead of waiting around outside because it was snowing hard and we all had places to drive to. It was a lot of fun celebrating 2010, and I hope the New Year brings everyone health and happiness!

Forestville Carol Sing

On December 21, 2009 I attended the Forestville Carol Sing with the rest of the Bristol titleholders. Instead of being outside in the cold, we gathered in Nuchie's Restaurant. Mary Lynn Gagnon led us through singing Christmas carols, and we hear solo performances of "Silver Bells", "Where Are You Christmas?", and "Silent Night". We also were entertained with a performance by a children's choir who sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". One of the kids was even dressed up like the Grinch. Towards the end of the evening, we paid a tribute to our heros overseas by singing "America the Beautiful". The last song of the evening was "Here Comes Santa Clause", which of course prompted the arrival of Santa himself. I had a blast singing and dancing with Meredith, Trinette, Sarah, and Brianna!