Miss New Jersey Outstanding Teen's Blog
Sammy's June Blog
June was an exciting month filled with exposure for STEM-CAM, the Miss New Jersey Pageant, and scholastic opportunities. I feel so blessed for the opportunities I had available to me this month and I will treasure the memories I made. June was off to an exciting start when I was awarded the New Jersey Verizon Service through STEM Jefferson Award. Jefferson Awards are given to individuals for public service. I received my Jefferson Award for STEM-CAM. I was honored to be presented with the state award and even more ecstatic to be sent to Washington DC to receive the National Jefferson Award. Once in Washington, I had unique opportunities to share my work with several other volunteers, participate in service projects that will benefit our soldiers, and speak to Senator Cory Booker about my program. I am excited to see how he can help STEM-CAM grow to have a larger impact. Overall, the trip to Washington DC was a humbling experience. I was inspired and reenergized to do more after hearing about all of the initiatives other individuals have started. My favorite quote of the week was, “Every day we wake up to a new America. This new America is the sum of many small changes.” This quote rang true to me and has given me a new perspective.
Aside from the exciting opportunities for my platform this month there was also some bittersweet moments. It was difficult to say goodbye to such a gorgeous and intelligent older sister at Miss New Jersey this year. I could always count on Cara for a good laugh and she will be missed. But, on the other hand, I feel so blessed to call Cierra my new big sister. She is so talented and inspiring and I cannot wait to watch her compete for the title of Miss America this September!
Soon after Miss New Jersey, national paperwork was due! It was a hectic week as I tried to finish the paperwork and take my finals. I was so relieved when everything was mailed in and completed. Thank you Joan! Then, it was off to Girls State where I had my first experience in a college dorm. Girls State was such a fun opportunity. When I found out Kyra Seeley was assigned to the same city and party, I was so excited! I was able to spend most of the week with her and a wonderful group of friends we made there. It was also great to here Cara speak at Girls State. I was fortunate enough to be elected State Assemblywoman and appointed to the position of County Sass Master! Girls State was an amazing opportunity to practice public speaking and to learn more about our nation and the true meaning of patriotism.
Directly following my graduation from Girls State, I was at the Miss New Jersey Outstanding Teen Mom and Daughter Luncheon. I was so grateful for the opportunity to hear from the past Miss New Jersey Outstanding Teens about their experiences down at nationals. I am sure that their advice and insight will prove beneficial down in Orlando. Thank you girls for pouring into me.
That same weekend, I had the opportunity to watch the Miss Connecticut and Miss
Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Pageant. The state directors and officials were so warm and welcoming. At the pageant, I met up with some other Outstanding Teen titleholders including Miss Maine’s Outstanding Teen and Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen. It is comforting to know I will see friendly faces when I go to compete in Orlando.
From the Connecticut pageant, my mom and I made the trip down to Dance Dash benefiting the Children’s Miracle Network. I had a great time teaching the third part of this year’s Dance Dash Dance to the participants with Anna Negron, Ellen Chu, and Cierra Kaler-Jones. A big thank you to Kaitlin Davis for inviting me to take part in the event.
June was a busy and exciting month. I cannot wait to see all that July has in store. Next month, I will be traveling to Orlando to compete for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Tune in next month to hear about my progress with my preparation for nationals!
Sammy’s May Blog
May was another busy and exciting month! This month, I had the opportunity to live out each of the four points of the crown. Most of my attention and effort over the last couple of weeks has been dedicated to the scholarship point of the crown. However, I was able to participate in various service activities, and school functions during May as well.
This school year, I decided to challenge myself by taking four AP tests. May first marked crunch time for my studying. Much of the month I spent studying in Starbucks, classrooms, and libraries until eleven o’clock for AP exams. I felt such a sense of relief once the tests came to an end. Now, it’s just a waiting game until I receive my score reports in July. I’m praying for 4s and 5s!!!!
While studying for AP exams became the priority in May, I was still able to take part in many service events, the first of which was the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Walk. Although it was a little rainy, I had a blast walking with some of the local miss titleholders in support of the fight against this deadly disease. While on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, we could not pass up the opportunity to stop during the walk for a photo opportunity at the Miss America Statue.
Towards the end of the month, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a Miracle League baseball game with Brenna Weick and Courtney Fairfield. We were able to play baseball with some of the students who attend Bankbridge Elementary School, a school for children with physical disabilities. I met some incredible individuals that day and look forward to the possibility of visiting again!!
STEM-CAM also had a successful month. I was able to reach several libraries with a lesson on rockets and aerodynamics! This month we visited Wharton, Chatham, and Mendham public libraries. In addition, I hosted an assembly for the third grade class at Dennis O’Brien Elementary School! It was so rewarding to see the students’ enthusiasm to learn about STEM subjects and how they use STEM in their everyday lives.
May provided me with some unique opportunities to express my individual style during prom and a photo shoot with Richard Krauss. I am incredibly blessed to have great friends, and I really enjoyed spending time with each of them during my school’s junior prom. Perhaps my favorite memory from prom was watching a dance circle form around my History teacher:P I could not ask for a better group of friends or a more fun group of teachers! I also had my photo shoot with Richard this past month! The pictures are fantastic as usual. I am excited to have comp cards to give out!
I was fortunate enough to have success this month in several different areas of my life. I was awarded the Kohl’s Cares local award for STEM-CAM. This makes me eligible to win the regional and potentially national award this year. I am excited for the new exposure it will bring to STEM-CAM.
This month was my final chorus concert for the school year and I was excited to perform my first solo with my school choir! I am extremely proud of all challenging and varied repertoire that we were able to master. During our concert, we performed “Run to You” by Penatonix and I look forward to recording our version to send to Pentatonix this upcoming week.
This month, I also attended the Miss New York pageant in Staten Island. I had a lot of fun meeting both Mallory and Nina. While there, I also had the opportunity to speak to two of the girls I will be competing with in Florida, Miss New Hampshire’s Outstanding Teen, Caroline Carter, and Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen, Cady Stover. #newsies :)
I participated in my first parade as Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen, the Netcong Memorial Day Parade. It was great to see Kerry, Sharon and the crew! Samantha Rossi and I rode together in the car and had an amazing time thanking our military for their service.
This was also a busy month for my family! Early this month was my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Seeing their dedication and love toward one another is inspirational to me. I had another opportunity to spend time with my family during my baby cousin, Anthony’s, baptism. It is always fun when my family gets together!
During this month, I was able to focus on each point of the crown, scholarship, service, style, and success. I had several opportunities to bring exposure to STEM-CAM and to join together with other titleholders to support a cause. In addition, I was able to spend time with my family and friends. May was another incredible month in my journey. Check in next month to hear about the crowning of Miss New Jersey 2014 and my trip to Washington, D.C.
Sammy’s April Blog
April was another incredible month! I cannot
believe how quickly this year is flying by. This month was filled with fundraisers, honors, and companionship. Every appearance and experience is so humbling and I am so honored to have the opportunity to represent our state.
The month began with the Eastern Star Luncheon hosted by Ellen Chu, Kerry, and Sharon. Aside from having the chance to educate people on the importance of STEM education and performing, the luncheon was also a fun way to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. I enjoyed spending time with some of the Miss titleholders and viewing their incredible talents, as well as hearing about their platforms. I had a second opportunity to support the Children’s Miracle Network at the Salem County Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser hosted by Leevon Lacy and Maureen Humphreys later in the month. This was such a fun night. I enjoyed my Spaghetti Dinner and all of the talented performances.
I was invited to the Washington Township Public Library where I read books about the characters from the movie Frozen to a group of children. It was gratifying to see how excited the children were when I walked in wearing my crown and sash. They thought I looked just like Elsa. I had a great time reading and spending time with them as a kick off to the viewing of the movie.
Gloucester County hosted the last Miss pageant for this year. Congratulations to Melissa Holtzhauser for joining the Miss New Jersey Class of 2014! I would also like to welcome to Amanda Peacock, Miss Gloucester Outstanding Teen to the family. All of the contestants were so beautiful, articulate, and talented. I am glad I could be there.
The following week, I attended the Liberty Science Center Volunteer Night. This is a night the Liberty Science Center sets aside to honor all of their volunteers. It was inspiring to hear volunteers, who have donated over 5,000 hours of service to the Liberty Science Center, speak about their experience and motivation to continue to serve the center. I had the pleasure of hearing the CEO of the Liberty Science Center speak about the vision for the center. If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to visit the Liberty Science Center.
April was a busy month for STEM-CAM. We hosted lessons at the Chatham Public Library, Wharton Borough Library, Washington Township Library, Mendham Township Library, and Lake Hiawatha Library. In the month of April, lessons revolved around “flying lesson” in May.
I had yet another opportunity this month to be on the other side of the judges’ table at the Color Me Teal Pageant. This was a fundraiser held at Rider University to benefit the fight against ovarian cancer. The contestants were talented and inspirational women. It was great to judge with my sister queen Miss New Jersey, Cara McCollum. I will never forget how many laughs we shared that night.
Shortly after the Color Me Teal pageant, I was on my way to Florida with my School Choir. I had such a blast going on all the rides and spending time with all of my friends from school. Performing in Epcot is was such an amazing experience. It was interesting to see behind the scenes of the park and to sing for hundreds of people! I was excited to watch my school band perform in the parade in Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney. Nothing measured up to fun experienced on the scavenger hunt with my roommates. I never knew there were so many hidden Mickey’s in the parks!
Upon my arrival home, I was greeted with some incredible news. I was announce Student Government Vice President while I was away in Florida! I also was selected to by a delegate at this year’s Girls’ State. I cannot wait to take part in this experience at the end of June, and I am excited that Miss North Jersey’s Outstanding Teen, Kyra Seeley, will also be attending! Toward the end of the month I was inducted into the National Honor Society and received the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award.
Each month gets more and more exciting. I am so blessed to be able to experience all the opportunities that are unfolding and all of the extraordinary people who have entered my life this year. Stay tuned to hear about May!
All my Love,
Sammy’s March Blog
I can’t believe March is already over! It was another fun filled month with exciting opportunities and strides for my platform. I am so blessed to have won several awards for my program, STEM-CAM. I was also able to support the Children’s Miracle Network, and other causes this month.
The month opened with the announcement that I am the PruKids Spirit of Volunteerism Award Winner. A camera crew from Prudential attended one of my STEM-CAM lessons. They filmed the lesson and conducted an interview with me about STEM-CAM. I was so excited to learn that the video was featured on the homepage of the Prudential website, which is visible to all Prudential employees.
After this exciting news, it was time to attend my first Science Fair. I helped in the Mirror and Optics exhibit at the Chester Science Fair. It was a lot of fun to learn about all of the students’ science fair projects and to see the genuine enthusiasm for STEM. I was able to learn from my experience at the Chester Science Fair and use it when I ran my own booth at the Long Valley Science Fair two weeks later. At the STEM-CAM booth, students could build and test their own catapults and bridges, and try to skewer balloons!
STEM-CAM was also introduced in two new libraries this past month. This month STEM-CAM hosted lessons on chemical reactions at the Mendham Library, robotics in Lake Hiawatha, and Pi Day in both Wharton and Washington Township.
Later in the month, STEM-CAM was awarded the regional prize for Northern New Jersey in the New Jersey Idea Award competition hosted by the Rothman Institute at Fairleigh Dickinson University. This emerging entrepreneur’s competition was an amazing opportunity for STEM-CAM to gain exposure and for me to meet successful businessmen and women from around the country.
Aside from platform related opportunities, I was able to support the Children’s Miracle Network during Pancake Day! I was met by Terry, Willadine, and Kerry at the Kenvil Ihop! I had such a great time serving pancakes and collecting donations for the Children’s Miracle Network with Ellen Chu and Samantha Rossi.
I also had the opportunity to thank our war veterans by singing the National Anthem at the Veteran’s Hospital. There were several talented young ladies who also attended and shared their talents with the veterans. Thank you Tami Charles for inviting me to this event. It was both fascinating and inspiring to learn about the wars they had fought in and to hear some of their stories.
Perhaps one of the most interesting appearances I made this month was judging the Senior Care Pageant. This was a coed pageant for individuals who attend the Senior Care centers around New Jersey. Each Senior Care center hosted a local pageant to decide who would represent that center in this pageant. Each contestant prepared a talent and answered an on-stage question for the judges. It was a challenging task to choose the winner of the Senior Care pageant, but the experience was one I will never forget.
I was excited to attend two local pageants this month. It was great to meet some new contestants and to see the returning girls. Congratulations to Amy Kao and Nina Mojares on winning their titles at Stars and Stripes. Also, welcome to the Bergen County and Ramapo Valley directors. I had a great time participating in the pageant with Cara McCollum. Congratulations to Kristina De Mora for winning the teen title and to Alicia Blanks and Alyssa Clements for winning the miss titles.
March was a month filled with recognition for STEM-CAM and community service work. I feel so blessed and honored to have won the New Jersey Idea Award and the Prudential Spirit Award for my platform. I had a great time supporting the Children’s Miracle Network at Pancake Day, singing the National Anthem at the Veteran’s Hospital, judging the Senior Care Pageant, and welcoming in new titleholders to the Miss New Jersey family. This month has been amazing and I cannot wait to see what next month has in store!
Lots of Love
Sammy’s January Blog
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I am still in a total state of shock. I am truly blessed and honored to have the opportunity to represent our great state. I must take a minute to thank God for not only the opportunity to fulfill my dream of being Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen, but also for filling my journey will such amazing and inspiring individuals. Without Him and all of the people he placed in my path, I would not have this incredible opportunity.
To Terry, Kerry, and Sharon, I could not have done it without your love and support. You all adopted me like I was one of your own titleholders. You have opened opportunities up to me and exposed me to new and exciting experiences. Thank you for helping me to spread the word about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) by inviting me to host an assembly at Mount Olive Middle School. Also, thank you for helping to set up and bake for our Children’s Miracle Network Bake Sale. I will be forever grateful for the mock interviews, appearances, meals, and laughs that you blessed me with.
And of course how could my dream come into fruition without the full support of my family. Mom and Dad, thank you for your time and financial investment. Thank you driving me across the state for mocks, locals, voice lessons, and appearances. You were both always willing and HAPPY to drive me anywhere to help me reach my goals. Also, a BIG thank you to my sister Angelina for enduring the late nights out, pageant talk, and constant singing. You have always been my number one fan and your support means a lot to me.
To everyone else who guided me in my preparation for states, thank you. Each of you contributed your expertise to make me shine on stage during competition. I have never met so many amazing, intelligent, and talented people as I have the year leading up to Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen. Thank you all so much for being a part of my journey. I truly felt loved when I heard your voices in the audience that night.
While I am honored and excited to have been crowned Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen, I know I have a lot of work ahead and big shoes to fill. Alyssa Sullivan truly embodies all of the virtues this organization promotes, and wore her crown with such elegance and grace. During her reign she worked hard to gain new sponsors for the program and establish a new tradition for all of the Outstanding Teen titleholders who visit Atlantic City for Miss America. I could not have been any prouder of Alyssa at Nationals where she placed in the top 8 for the overall title and had one of the top 5 interviews. I am blessed to be able to call her my friend.
Already, I can tell my year as Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen is going to be a busy one. The weekend following my crowning, I had the opportunity to see what it was like to be on the other side of that judge’s table when I judged the Mr. Millville Pageant. It was more fun than I ever could have imagined and there were so many talented and accomplished contestants. Being on the other side of the judges’ table gave me a new appreciation for the Herculean task assigned to these judges to select a titleholder who will represent the organization for the year.
Aside from judging Mr. Millville, I have been busy promoting my platform; STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Since being crowned, I have hosted programs at two different libraries. I am excited to announce that STEM-CAM (science, technology, engineering, and math through building confidence, changing attitudes, and mentoring programs) will host programs in six different libraries starting in March!
Check in again to hear about what promises to be an exciting February!
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