Brace yourself.... it is going to be a long one. First and foremost congratulations to Miss NY 2010 - Claire Buffie!!!! Claire is PHENOMENAL, I had the opportunity to really get to know her better this past week and let me tell you, the girl is a trooper. Claire was sick all week long and by her enthusiasm and positive attitude you would have never guessed it. I know she is going to do great things with her title and make NY proud this year!
So lets rewind. As I was driving to Albany on Monday morning I could hardly contain my excitement. This was a trip that I had been working towards taking now for 6 years and I was so anxious to get it started. Upon arrival, Kieren and I loaded our entire lives out of our vehicles and up to a 3rd floor apartment ( that's right-- no elevators!).
After we were all settled in, we met all of the girls at our orientation lunch. Before long, the festivities began! We made our way around the city of Albany via a really cool water/land vehicle on a Ducks tour. Poor Katie M got a little nervous when we hit the water! After our tour, we went to dinner at Prime 677, only one word necessary here... DELICIOUS! Thank you so much to the kind staff and for the wonderful meal!
Now after day one, the remainder of the week is all kind of jumbled in my mind so trust me when I say that the order of events will absolutely not be chronological. My first work out with Kent really gave me a lot of confidence! Shocking right? I am not a dancer by any means, but thanks to Keelie Sheridan, who taped the opening number dance for the girls, I was able to learn the majority of it ahead of time. If it weren't for that tape and Kent's great instruction, I would have been going left when everyone else was going right, going down when everyone else was up.... you get the point.
Now, I have never been one that has been power tools savy. I don't even think I could be called power tool literate. But, I surely learned when we built stairs for Habitat for Humanity! The good news is that I still have all of my fingers and toes :)
Another activity that I really enjoyed this week was meeting the 136th district Assemblyman, Jim Bacalles. All of the assemblymen were so excited to see us and we had quite the photo shoot with them! It was really cool to be standing in the capital and hearing different Representatives shouting out what area they were from to try and match themselves up with the appropriate titleholder. They made us feel very important!
My FAVORITE event of the week was visiting Girls Inc. These little ones were SO excited to see us and they asked such good questions! There were some potential Miss America's in the room! I think that I can speak for all of the girls by saying that this event was so meaningful. It really touched my heart when I saw their little faces light up when we let them be the new Miss NY Class of 2010.
We also made our way to the Children's Hospital to see where all of our hard work in raising money for the CMN goes to. We met a baby that was only 1 pound. This is where my breakdown of the week occurred. It was so hard to see this tiny life trying so hard just to survive. It really made me realize that every penny raised truly does make a difference and is going to push me further to raise as much money as I possibly can in the upcoming year.
This week was the greatest experience of my life. I was the recipient of the Academic Achievement award, which was such an honor (once I realized why Kieren pushed me onto the stage!). Although I did not make the top 11, it did not matter. I was still on that Miss NY stage-- a place that I worked so hard to get to. The friends that I made, the exhausting nights, the nervous breakdowns, the never ending stories, the encouragement, the laughter, and the memories we shared will never be forgotten. Congratulations to the entire Miss NY Class of 2010 -- you girls are amazing.
P.S. Want to see more pictures? Check out my facebook albums entitled, Miss NY 2010 and Miss NY 2010 Part 2!