Letter to the Editor: It’s not all about beauty.

July 29, 2016
Shelby Soberalski

Shelby Soberalski

Letter to the Editor by Shelby Soberalski, Miss Ludington Area 2016.

I have honestly and truly enjoyed being Miss Ludington Area 2016. I love this community and being able to serve it in such a positive way. With all the things I’ve learned and done so far, I’d like to let everyone know that being Miss Ludington is a lot more than being a beauty pageant contestant. Did you know that Miss America and Miss USA are different organizations? Miss USA is a pre-qualifier to Miss Universe. And yes, I do feel terrible about the wrong contestant being named as the winner. But I think that both parties handled it with class. If it were me in that situation, I would have given the crown back to Miss Colombia (which I heard that Miss Philippines tried to do so, but wasn’t allowed). Let me tell you about the Miss America Organization and why it is much more than what you may think.

I appreciate all of the kind and admiring words that people share with me in regards to my appearance. I truly am flattered and appreciate it. I would like people to know, that being Miss Ludington Area and a Miss Michigan or Miss America contestant is much more than being “beautiful”.

The Miss America Organization is based on four fundamentals; scholarship, service, style, and success. Each contestant has their own platform that they personally chose, along with the national platform of the Children’s Miracle Network. In addition to advocating for my platform, Autism and Mental Health Acceptance, I have also volunteered and raised funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.

Did you know that the Miss America Organization is one of the largest providers of scholarships for women in the world? They award millions of dollars to women every year. The organization focuses on developing girls into women and helping them succeed. I think that every woman who is a college student can agree that scholarships are extremely important. This was a motivating factor to compete in the local pageant but not the only reason I decided that I wanted to be Miss Ludington Area.

Most of all, the reason I wanted to be Miss Ludington Area was because of the service aspect of the title. I believe that it does take a village to raise a child and this community has done that for me, in many ways. I have no idea where life will take me, but I wanted to take this opportunity to be able to give back. I want people to know that this community has a special place in my heart and always will. In the eight months that I have been serving as Miss Ludington Area, I have completed over 120 hours of community service work in our community. I have had the joy of reading and educating area youth and adults about Autism, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army at Christmas time, helping update homes with the Neighbor to Neighbor program, and donated my time at various family events, just to name a few. Even though my year is half-way over, my service to our community is not.

When you think of the style aspect, what comes to mind first? It’s not all about looking good, if that’s what you thought. Style is about encouraging professionalism in these young women, which is extremely important to be successful. This also focuses on instilling confidence, a poised outward expression and etiquette. So far as Miss Ludington Area, I’ve already come across many networking opportunities. These opportunities require me to be poised, confident and outgoing. Someday I will look back and greatly appreciate the style aspect that being Miss Ludington Area has taught me.

Last but not least, success. A lot of women who have gone through the Miss America Organization have gone on to be wonderfully successful and accomplish many things. From helping pass legislations and laws to becoming empowering members of their respective communities, success is something that every contestant equally strives for. At Miss Michigan, there were 33 women total competing for the title of Miss Michigan. It was astonishing how each woman was successful in her own way and had each accomplished so much in their lifetimes. All while being college students and being under the age of 24. From founding and running organizations, to creating better lives for strangers, it was honestly remarkable that all of these women were capable of so much.

All of the women that compete in the Miss America Organization help raise funds and awareness for the Children’s Miracle Network. This helps change lives for families and children and the dollars raised stay local.  

With each day that passes that I am Miss Ludington Area, I find a new way to fall in love with a community that I didn’t think was possible to love more. I truly appreciate everyone’s kind words and wisdom.This community has empowered me to be a better role model and overall an even better person. Being Miss Ludington Area has changed my life in many ways that I never thought possible and I know that I am overly blessed to be able to represent this area. To be completely honest, this wonderful community makes it so easy to represent. I can’t express how thankful I am to call such a loving and caring community, my hometown.


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