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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Letter to the MAO Board of Directors

If you agree, write them a letter! The more they receive, the more likely they are to make a change!

To whom this may concern:

Seven years ago, I had absolutely no idea that I was about to embark on a journey that was going to change my life forever. I was confused, lost, and felt so small in such a big world. I decided to take a chance and compete in my first Miss America local. At the beginning, it was a way to make friends, work on my interviewing skills, and generally have a good time. As the years went by, the friendships became stronger, my confidence level soared, and I started to develop a sense of competition, drive, and ambition to be named the next Miss America. Truth be told, this drive and ambition sent me on the ride of my life.

Six years and fifteen pageants into my Miss America career, I won my first local. Being named Miss Finger Lakes 2010, surrounded by my family, friends, and pageant sisters, was the absolute greatest moment of my life. Standing on the Miss New York stage I felt so proud to be representing my hometown. In that moment, I thought about the work I had done in my community, the strides that I had made in my education, the friendships that would last a lifetime, and the self confidence that I possessed that would not have been possible without this amazing Organization.

When I exited the Miss New York stage, I was not wearing a new crown, but was still proud and excited for the remainder of my local title's reign. The next day, I started the preparation process once again to become the next Miss America. During the preparation months of my last year of eligibility, I received a phone call from my best friend telling me that she had set the date for the most important day of her life and she had asked me to be her maid of honour. I was so excited and could not wait to support her on her journey. A few months later, on the way out the door for a Miss Finger Lakes appearance, I received a text message that put an end to my dream of becoming Miss America. The Miss New York State board of directors had just announced that they would be holding the pageant the very same day as my friend's wedding. After much contemplation and many tears, I chose to compete in one last local pageant; if it was meant to be then I would miss the most important day of my friend's life, but experience the most important day of my own life. At Miss Greater Rochester 2011, I performed better than I ever had at any pageant and was confident that I would be representing the area at Miss New York. Unfortunately for me, it was not meant to be. As much as I wanted to try again at another local, I had made a promise to myself and a promise to my friend that I would only have one shot. I sat on the sidelines and cheered on my friends as they competed for a chance to fight for the title of Miss New York; with tears in my eyes, I watched away my last year of eligibility. It is for that reason that I am writing you today.

Up until 1993, the Miss America Organization allowed young women to compete until the age of 28. I truly believe that it is time re-think the competition age limit. At such a young age of 24, I know that I still have so much growing to do within this system, I still have student loans that I need assistance with, and most importantly, I can still be a role model for this Organization. When I first began competing, I would not have had the courage to write to you or the confidence to believe that I could actually make this change transpire. It is because of the lessons that I learned from the Miss America Organization that I know if I want change to happen that I need speak up and make it happen. Year after year, I have witnessed girls age out of this system when they are not nearly ready to go. I ask that you consider this and raise the issue at your next board meeting so that a new age limit can go into effect for the 2012 season. If this change takes place, not only will you be helping thousands of young women to continue to go after their dreams, but thousands of young women will be helping in return as we continue to raise funds for the Children's Miracle Network, volunteer in our communities, and be advocates for the Miss America Organization. This Organization has changed my life, but I have more changes that need to be made and a dream that I am still eager to accomplish. Thank you in advance for considering this.


Amy Valenti

1 comment:

  1. How am I just stumbling upon this lovely, eloquently written post now? I love it, and totally agree! Well said, Amy!