I can’t believe how fast this wonderful year has passed. I have made a lot of great friends and I will cherish the memories we made together forever. I was very fortunate to get to visit other state pageants and I saw many of my NAM friends when we attended the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas.
I had SO much at nationals, visiting Disneyland and touring Hollywood. I was so busy having fun, I was always entertained. I was excited and proud to represent the state of Iowa and I was especially thrilled when I won a coveted spirit stick at rehearsal and Miss Personality in the National Pageant.
During the year, I rode in many parades and sang at city celebrations. I got to sign autographs and meet new people. I want to continue to encourage girls to reach for their dreams. I was a special guest at the National Miss You Can Do It Pageant in Dallas, TX and I got to help girls with special needs make their pageant dreams come true. I met a new friend named Taylor. She has Cerebral Palsy and we found that we are more alike than different. She borrowed my dress and won the formal wear competition so we were thrilled to have our picture taken together. I also met Miss USA contestants and a former Miss America.
Thank you to my sister queens for our fun times together. I would like to thank all of the people who made this opportunity possible, I want to thank my state director, Kenn and Lani Maples, and of course my "pageant sister" Breanne for all of their support. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Mayes and the National American Miss staff, as you were all energetic and encourage girls like me to always smile and feel confident about ourselves. This experience has helped me build confidence and find courage to reach fro my dreams of being a singer, dance, and actress.
To my successor, Congratulations! I hope you have a great year just like me and remember to take lots of pictures. Always smile and know you are a role model to your little queens and girls out there hoping to wear a crown someday.
Whenever I am nervous about trying something new, I will always remember what Breanne and the NAM staff taught us – “I look good” – and I feel good about myself too. Thank you National American Miss for encouraging me to be the best person I can be. This is an opportunity I will treasure forever.
With Love from your 2009 Iowa Junior Pre-Teen,
A look back at Merrill's year:
Merrill with National Royalty in California