Sunday, April 22, 2012

This was supposed to be my holiday post!

Life has certainly changed since I posted last. You can tell school is back in session when needs some serious updating!

You can also tell school had a break when Kate Mack herself took a moment to squeeze six months into as concise of a blog post as possible. But enough speaking about myself in the third person...

The first thing I should probably clarify is that pageantry doesn't usually run on a calendar year. Many folks thought my reign was over since 2011 was over. However, in most cases when you win a title, you retain that title for a full year from the time you are crowned. So since I was crowned on March 20th of 2011, that meant I would continue to be Mrs. Pennsylvania United States until at least March of 2012. Actually, after working with my wonderful state director on setting a date for the 2012 pageant, it turned out I got a bit of a bonus month: Mrs. Pennsylvania United States 2012 was crowned April 15, 2012! During the show, seven lovely ladies competed and yours truly sang and talked all about my year up on stage.

Beyond setting straight just how much longer you were stuck with me, what follows is my attempt to provide a glimpse into just over the second half of my year as Mrs. Pennsylvania United States 2011. It is set up a little differently than my previous posts for the sake of what I hope will be brevity.

First of all, in addition to scheduled events listed below, my school's GSA (which I advise) holds meetings every Monday after school. Friends of mine on Facebook have probably also noted that since I've obtained my Zumba fitness instructor license, I've been teaching and taking Zumba classes like a fiend, subbing as instructor for the classes I used to take on Wednesdays due to my regular instructor's injured knee (well wishes to my Z-mama Nancy Christman!) as well as teaching 4:15 PM Monday classes at Steel Fitness, 7 PM Monday classes at Lehigh University, and 7 PM Thursday classes again at Lehigh. When I can, I also run a quick class after school on Wednesdays for my co-workers, and as of the conclusion of Lehigh's Spring Semester on April 26th, I'll be taking over a 6:30 PM time slot at Gold's Gym in Bethlehem beginning May 3rd. I have found true joy in teaching Zumba classes that has enriched my life in so many ways, so although it is busy, it is also a blast!

Second of all, I've listed all of my appearances since my last post followed by a brief blurb about the experience. My calendar has gone through many changes so is not entirely up-to-date. The best source of information is here, straight from the horse's mouth! Here goes:

September 10th--Zoo in Paradise VIP Reception & Parrothead Party at the Lehigh Valley Zoo
Buffet-themed and packed with Parrotheads, my mom, Jimmy, and I attended to support LV Zoo's animal welfare and conservation efforts.

September 26th--Lehigh Valley Democrats Candidates' Night
Nights like these are a great way to learn about the candidates running for office. I attended to support my aunt, whose bid for school board DID end up being successful. :) I also gave a speech about my experience as a young Democrat living in the Lehigh Valley.

September 28th--Jackson for Allentown School Board Fundraiser at Louie's Restaurant
This was the last event supporting my aunt prior to the election. It was a great journey!

September 30th--Dressed to the K9s Gala benefitting The Center for Animal Health and Welfare
A lovely evening dedicated to raising awareness and funds. I was able to speak about my commitment to helping homeless animals and encourage others to dedicate their time, as well.

October 1--Freemansburg Halloween Parade
Freemansburg very warmly welcomed me in their Halloween Parade...everyone with whom I interacted treated me so kindly AND I got to ride in a pretty sweet Camaro. Several weeks later, I learned that the Grand Marshall (pictured here with me) passed away very shortly after the parade, but spent his time since our photo telling everyone he could about how great it was to meet me. It was truly a moment where I realized the potential for our impact on others even when our interactions might seem small and insignificant.

October 4th--Performing National Anthem and Citation on PA House Floor as an "Outstanding Pennsylvanian" with Pennsylvania State Representative Justin Simmons
An amazing, once-in-a-lifetime event where I was joined by my mom and aunt for very special recognition from one of our state representatives followed by a tour of the capitol.

October 15th--Party in Pink! Zumbathon benefitting Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Moravian College
Zumba fitness's home office is committed to providing opportunities for instructors to give back. One of my Z-mamas, Tamra Nichols, organized this event at her alma mater with the current members of her sorority. The event was an EXCELLENT model for me to participate in since I planned my own Parties in Pink for shortly (only 24 hours in one case!) after.

October 16th--Party in Pink! Zumbathon benefitting Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Live Learn & Play
Since I hadn't been licensed to teach yet during the Party in Pink campaign, I worked with my sorority sister Laura Landrieu for the first time in years to conduct this Zumbathon to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. It was a happy day seeing each other again, especially since it was for a good cause!

October 20th--Ally 101 Workshop for Southern Lehigh GSA
My GSA students helped me organize a crash course in how to be supportive to LGBT youth in my school's community for this two-hour long examination of our current school climate and what we can do to make it more welcoming for the kids we serve.

October 22nd--Honorary Captain, Lehigh Valley Steelers @ Home

October 26th--Party in Pink! Zumbathon benefitting Susan G. Komen for the Cure at Studio West Dance Centre
For this Zumbathon, I worked with Nancy Christman, my first Z-mama, and Shannon Krische, my former Lady Outlawz teammate and now owner of Studio West (where I currently sub long-term until Nancy's knee gets better). We raised over $400 for Susan G. Komen for the Cure!

November 11th--Camelot for Kids Teen Night
Camelot holds Teen Nights every month for the kids who take advantage of their services. This month's Teen Night theme was an '80s dance party! We had a blast dancing the night away!

November 12th--Zumba Instructor Training in Harrisburg

November 19th--Lehigh/Lafayette

November 22nd--Anti-Defamation League Youth Leadership Conference

December 6th--It Gets Better video filming

January 22nd--Zumba Instructor Basics 2 Licensing in Wilkes Barre
Four more rhythms means four times the fun!

February 25th--Girls Scouts of Southern Lehigh's World Thinking Day

March 10th--United We Dance to cure ALS Zumbathon benefitting Augie's Quest at Studio West Dance Centre

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