One of my favorite things about our community is hearing inspiring stories of people living well with diabetes while pursuing and achieving so many different dreams – sports, music, art, travel, education and so much more. You may remember high school freshman Caroline Carter from her recent guest blog here on The LOOP, Advocating for Diabetes in the Big Apple. Caroline was also recently featured in an article in a local news outlet highlighting her diabetes diagnosis and her quest to be crowned Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen. She competed in this pageant and was kind enough to share her amazing experience with us. Please join me in congratulating Caroline on her accomplishment and continuing to advocate for those living with diabetes!
Hey there, LOOP readers!
I recently took part in the Miss New Hampshire's Outstanding Teen Program, which is the prelude to the Miss America Organization. Contrary to some beliefs, this is no ordinary pageant. This is a scholarship program that helps young women like me become involved in their local and statewide communities, and serves as motivation to keep our grades at 4.0's, because they check our grades before we are eligible to compete. It offers us a chance to perform on stage, develop communication skills, help raise money for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (which is the national platform of the organization) and allows us to speak about our own personal platforms. My platform is, of course, about diabetes - Cara's Crusade, Stop Diabetes.
My experience with this program has been nothing short of amazing. I began competing last year, and since then, I have become much more confident in myself and of my ambitions for my future – which includes attending Dartmouth College to become a diabetes research and genetics professional. With the scholarship money that I earn from participating, this goal has become that much more possible.
The actual competition includes a talent portion, an 8 minute private interview with our esteemed panel of judges, an on-stage interview about current events and our platforms, and lastly evening gown. I was lucky enough to advance from our group of 30 young women into the Top 10. From there, I was given the opportunity to perform my talent, which was a vocal piece to “Somebody to Love” by Queen, in front of the judges. The night prior, I had earned the Preliminary Talent Award, which was a huge honor for me.
My on-stage interview went great! I had everyone laughing when the host asked me, “Caroline, if you were trapped on a deserted island and could have one thing with you what would it be?” My answer was immediate. Without thinking, I leaned to the microphone and said, “A boat with fuel, so that I could get OFF the island!” Even my friends backstage were laughing!
With that, we completed our final dance routine and stood together, ready for the announcement of the Top 5. I remember being so nervous! I went from the first spot in the running all the way to the final spot available! My nerves were shot, but you can imagine my relief when they called, “And the final contestant in the running is, contestant number 24! Caroline Carter!”
I walked away that night with 3rd runner up, and boy was I proud of myself! I have gone from the rookie of last year, to the Top 5! It was amazing, and I walked away with a bunch of new friends. I have a handful of quotes that I apply to my life, but for that weekend, I say, “It's not about the destination, but the journey that may get you there.” While it might have been awesome to leave with a crown on my head, I just have to deal with the fact that it didn't happen this time around, but I most certainly didn't leave empty handed. I have about 25 new contacts in my phone's address book, as well as a talent award and a spot in the Top 5. What more can a girl ask for?