Thursday, June 22, 2017

Farewell to Miss Missouri Teen Jessica Hanner

It’s so crazy to think that a year has flown by since I was crowned Miss Missouri Teen 2016!

My journey with NAM began in 2014 when I received a letter in the mail saying that I had been invited to attend an open call. Little did I know just how much NAM would grow and shape me into the young lady I am today. That June, I placed in the top five of the Jr. Teen division and couldn’t contain my excitement! My next goal was simple: Become the next Miss Missouri Teen. The next year, I competed in the Teen division and made the top twenty. As a person who constantly wants to improve, I was a little disappointed that I hadn’t achieved what I had ultimately set out to accomplish. So after participating in a different pageant in 2016, I registered again for NAM just a few days before it started. My goal this time: Have fun with my NAMily, meet new friends, and enjoy the experience to the fullest extent. I began memorizing my personal introduction four days out from the actual competition! Thankfully, my wardrobe was already in place from a previous pageant which was a huge blessing! I went into the weekend not expecting my name to be called as the next 2016 Miss Missouri Teen. This time I wasn’t nervous about the end result, but instead I was filled with excitement and an extra grateful heart for NAM and all that it meant to me. I looked forward to fun, friends and the opportunity to keep growing my confidence alongside the most fantastic girls across the state of Missouri! What an amazing surprise and blessing it was to be announced as the new Miss Missouri Teen 2016, and what an incredible honor and privilege it has been to represent this great state.

This year, I volunteered with many organizations including Harvesters Outreach at my church, the Vicki Welsh Fund, Shop with a Cop, Natalie M Foundation, and KC Pet Project. I also had the honor of sharing my personal platform, “The No Gossip Zone”, with over one hundred youth and adults including AWANA Club and Girl Scouts. As one who experienced heartache from years of being the target of gossip bullying, I created a platform to help inform youth about how gossip is often the root cause of bullying. I was able to share my personal story, equip them with specific ways to block the gossip, and provide encouragement and hope that we can overcome its effects. I also enjoyed having my sister queens join me in passing out Valentine’s Day cards to the residents at Riverside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. This was my second time visiting with the residents there, and it’s one of my absolute favorite volunteer opportunities! My heart was so full of joy as I realized how much this meant to each resident and saw how many smiles it created by just spending time with them. My grandma had once been a resident there, so it meant even more to be able to give back.

Nationals was one of the most exciting moments of the year. I had the opportunity to meet so many phenomenal young ladies from across the country, and cultivated amazing friendships with my fellow 2016 Teens! It was also a great time to be reunited with my Missouri sister queens! I was so excited for each and every one of their accomplishments that week. They all make me the proudest big sis ever! I came away with the blessings of new friendships, personal growth, and memories that will last a lifetime. Oh… and I came away with that awesome Spirit Stick!

So many special people helped to make this year incredible. To my family, a huge “Thank you!” for your constant support, love, patience, and encouragement throughout this journey. This year wouldn’t have been the same without you! I love you so much!!! Jodi Rinehart, thank you for all your help and support this year. Words can’t express how much you mean to me and how grateful I am for everything you’ve done to bless my life! To all of my friends and extended family, I can’t thank you enough for all your love and encouragement throughout the year. You all mean the world to me and I am blessed each day because of you! Most importantly, to Jesus… thank you! I owe this entire year to You and none of this would be possible without You. This year has challenged and grown me in multiple ways for Your glory, and I am so glad that You’ve been by my side the whole time. Thank You for everything, Jesus!

To all the beautiful and amazing Miss Missouri contestants heading to NAM, I am beyond excited to meet each and every one of you! This weekend is going to be one that you will cherish for a lifetime. Remember to take time to enjoy every moment, make new friends and have FUN! No matter the outcome, you can be extremely proud of yourselves! You are doing something that not everyone does, and that is special. All of you are so brave and beautiful and I can’t wait to see you shine on stage as you achieve your goals and dreams! If you ever have any questions, please reach out to me! I am rooting for every single one of you and wish you all the very best! I know you will all be absolutely amazing!

I’m sad that this year has gone by so fast, but I am excited to see where God will lead me next. See you all soon!

Much love and God bless!

Jessica Hanner
2016 Miss Missouri Teen

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