Wow, I can hardly believe this is my farewell. It feels just like yesterday my journey with NAM began as a shy preteen girl competing in her first pageant. I didn’t take home a crown my first time. Instead, I took home something better- a new dream. Two years later, I was back as a Junior Teen.
Throughout the pageant I was bewildered by the friendships the NAM environment creates! Blessed out of my socks, I was standing on stage and my name was the last to be called!
This past year has been filled with opportunities and growth as I sent over 150 handmade dolls to orphans through my platform A Doll for All, volunteered at the JDRF walk, awarded athletes at the Special Olympics of Iowa, played baseball with kids at the Kiwanis Miracle League, and visited the patients of the Blank Children’s Hospital. I also spent four days in Omaha at the National Miss Amazing Pageant empowering young women with disabilities as they inspired me. I rode in the Waukee 4th of July parade and met Governor Branstad.
Time flies by when you’re having fun and next thing I was on a plane to LA with my family! Nationals was an AMAZING week filled with groovy parties, a magical time at Disneyland, and crazy rehearsals! I ended up placing 14th and left California with memories that I will treasure forever. I would like to thank National American Miss and the Ewing’s who without I would not be the confident girl I am today, my mom who is always there for me and encouraging me to be my best, my dad and brother for never missing an opportunity to make me smile, my family for showing me infinite love and support, and my friends who sharpen me throughout life.
My last hope for my successor and the contestants is this: “Let no one despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and in purity.” -1 Timothy 4:12. You are a role model, your words and actions have a larger impact than you know, so I pray you make them glorifying. For the last time as your 2014 National American Miss Iowa Junior Teen, I am Katie Van Sloun.