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KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

Keep Calm and Carry On…this phrase may be familiar if you are enjoying Pinterest as much as I am. Keep Calm and Carry On was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of WW II, and was intended to boost morale of the British public. Today it has been re-issued by a number of private companies, and has been used as the decorative theme for a wide range of products. If this is foreign to you, just Google “Keep Calm” images and you will be entertained for hours.

Samantha Robbins. Photo by JJ Kaplan

The Keep Calm and Carry On message was embraced by Samantha Robbins, who began entering the Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen Pageant two years ago. Shy and introverted, she didn’t earn the title her first year. She then entered Miss Heart of Indiana’s Outstanding Teen the following year, and she still didn’t earn the title. On her third attempt, she knew what the judges were looking for. This time, Samantha stood before them with a newly –found lightness, sense of humor, and confidence. The shy little girl had been transformed over the years into a well-spoken, well-rounded contestant by keeping calm, reaching outside her comfort zone, and carrying on. On September 9, 2012, Samantha Robbins was crowned Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen 2013.

The Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen Pageant is a division of the Miss America Pageant program. This competition is designed for young girls, aged 13-17 and less than a senior in High School. More than just a pretty face, this organization is looking to empower women by showcasing a person as role model. And in the process, the contestants become confident by embracing their personal platforms, public appearances, community service, and academic achievements. Most girls have to reach beyond their comfort zone in the course of competition.

On June 21st, Samantha, along with 25 other contestants, will compete for the title of Miss Indiana’s Outstanding Teen. This pageant takes place here in Zionsville, and coincides with the Miss Indiana Pageant in which Rachel Bazzell, our cover story, will compete. One contestant will be selected that night and go on to compete for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen.

Both Samantha and Rachael have had overlapping duties and enjoy a nurturing friendship. Shortly after Samantha was crowned Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen, she was asked to participate in a community service project at Lions Park. She was nervous and unsure of what to do. Immediately, Rachel approached her, introduced herself, and showed her the ropes. From that day on, the two pageant winners have been good friends and Samantha considers herself to be one of Rachael’s biggest fans.

In both pageants, the contestants select a platform to promote. Samantha’s message is “Save A Life-Adopt Shelter Animals.” She and her family have rescued a stray puppy, adopted a small dog from Indianapolis Humane Society, and adopted a cat from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control. She is beginning orientation at the Indianapolis Humane Society to learn how to volunteer her time and effort to help the animals find permanent, loving homes. As she has always been passionate about pets, she also realizes that adopting a pet also benefits the new owners. She embraces the phrase, “Who Rescued Who?” when thinking of pet adoptions. Everyone is a winner when a pet is finds their forever home.

Contestants compete in four categories of ability: 1) ACTIVE WEAR-which includes dance and fitness routines (this replaces swimsuit competition), 2) TALENT-which include music, dancing, reading, 3) PRIVATE INTERVIEW WITH JUDGES, and 4) EVENING GOWN WITH ONSTAGE QUESTION. She is an accomplished dancer, enjoys art, and will be performing a clean Rap song for her talent portion of the contest. She is excited to offer a positive message through Rap music. Judges compile the scores from each event to select the winner.

What I realized in meeting Samantha and Rachael is that the Miss America Pageant offers a vehicle for young women to overcome weaknesses, develop confidence, and impact others by promoting a cause. We should be proud of two young women from Zionsville who are representing our community and are striving to make a larger impact on our area, state, and country. Remember to Keep Calm and Carry On, everyone!

To learn more about Miss Fall Festival’s Outstanding Teen pageant, visit their page on Facebook, www.missindianapageant.com,or www.missamerica.org.

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