Scholarship is my favorite point of the crown. While the Miss America Organization is heavily focused on service and differentiates itself through the talent competition, it is, first and foremost, a scholarship organization. Miss America is ranked first among the organizations that award the most scholarship dollars in the country. This is distinguishing factor is the reason I chose to compete for my first local title. Four years later, my love for the Miss America Organization and all the points of the crown has grown and I am a major advocate for the many ways that competing in this organization can benefit and grow you as strong, confident woman.
I began my Miss America journey at the ripe age of seventeen. As a senior in high school determined to further my education, the opportunity to win college scholarships was impossible to pass up. Little did I know that my first Miss America Scholarship would, eventually, grow into over $8,000 that I have been able to put toward my education during my undergraduate career. I am so incredibly proud to say that, on May 6th 2017, I graduated summa cum laude from California Baptist University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Communication Studies and became the first person in my family to graduate from college. One night, I was walking back from getting dinner on campus and it struck me that this place I have called home for four years will no longer be my home. My feet may never again walk this route that I have taken from the cafeteria to my apartment almost every single day for four years. In the midst of this wave of extremely bittersweet nostalgia, I looked at my campus with new eyes. I tried to memorize every detail of the way things looked while remembering the ways it had changed during my time there. My time on my college campus was such an integral part of my growth as a student, as a thinker, and as an individual. My time on this campus has come to an end and now my time will be spent somewhere else, beginning a new chapter. I am going to graduate. This goal that always seemed to loom in the distance has been achieved. I FINALLY DID IT!
Reaching this point and having that exhilarating, sad, terrifying, joyful moment of realization would not have been possible without the Miss America Organization. This program is about so much more than a sparkly hat and pretty dresses; it provides you with an opportunity to achieve your biggest dreams. Becoming Miss California would allow me to completely pay off my student loans and I know there are many other titleholders who understand how incredibly valuable that chance is. The Miss America Organization’s mission is to allow young women the opportunity to reach their educational goals. I am a testament to fulfillment of this mission and I am excited to continue to law school where the hard work that I put into my undergraduate degree has paid off in admission and scholarship offers from four incredible institutions. I have loved and enjoyed every Miss America local title that I have held to date; however, I am most ecstatic and proud about my new title: Graduate.
P.S. Getting that education is the first step to success, but utilizing it as a woman in the workforce can be challenging. My platform, From Scholarship to Success, is aimed at giving women tips to be successful in the workplace while beginning to change the conversation regarding equality. Follow me on Instagram (@missnosorg), Twitter (@missnosorg), and Facebook (Miss National Orange Show) for information on how to move from scholarship to success.
By: MacKenzie Freed – Miss National Orange Show 2017