Ellen Chu, Miss Tri-County and Samantha Rizzuto, Miss Liberty Outstanding Teen presented their platform to the students of Mt. Olive Middle School. Ellen’s platform Overcoming Obstacles was presented as an interactive activity with the students. She asked for 15 volunteers to come up on the stage and to stand at the back of the stage, and told them to think of their goal in life. Ellen then stood at the front of the stage and told them she represented their goal. Ellen then read a series of statements and the students were to move a number of steps either forward or back. At the completion each of the students were at varying places from where they began, yet none of them reached her or their goal. The message was, not to get discouraged, keep working to reach/attain their goal. The next presenter, Samantha Rizzuto, Miss Liberty Outstanding Teen stated that her platform is Balancing the Equation. She asked the students if they were familiar with the Big Bang Theory. The students were very familiar and eager to volunteer to come up to describe two of the main characters, Penny and Sheldon of that show. Sammy, then compared herself to these two characters. She told the students a few facts about herself, she attends a special Academy for Math/Sciences and she is promoting S.T.E.M. (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) and that she is very popular, has many friends, is a cheerleader, and is a nerd because on weekends she loves to build robots. Sammy then told the students they did not have to be one or the other, they could be super smart, popular and have many friends and not let their peers put them in a category. Her goal is to become an aerospace engineer and possibly work for NASA.
The two titleholders then went to the Mt. View School for an informal meet and greet with the students in the deaf/hard of hearing class. Ellen and Samantha introduced themselves, and they joined the students who were working on a Thanksgiving craft project. Ellen showed the kids her hearing aids and told them how important it is for them to wear them every day. Ellen then pulled up the recording of her dance at Miss New Jersey and showed it on the Smart Board in the classroom to the students. The students watched very intently and would look at Ellen and back at the Smart Board and clap and squeal. It was a wonderful experience for both the titleholders and students at both schools.
As one of the Executive Directors for the Miss New Jersey/Miss America Scholarship Foundation, and an employee of Mt. Olive, it seemed like an excellent idea to promote these young ladies platforms with the community and the students of Mt. Olive. The young ladies who enter our local pageants do it with the idea of winning scholarship monies to assist in their education. The Miss contestants must be enrolled in a community college or university or a graduating high school senior and are between the ages of 17 and 24. The Teen contestants are between the ages of 12 and 17 and must submit a copy of their report card along with other information in order to participate. Anyone interested can find information on the Miss New Jersey website or through our local triple crown pageant, which is Miss Gateway, Miss Tri-County and Miss Northern Lakes. Our pageant is held at the Stanhope United Methodist Church in the Glen, Netcong in October. At the local level we do not have any corporate sponsors or backing and appreciate the local businesses, who when approached, graciously sponsored our crowns and sashes. The Executive Directors of our North Jersey Triple Crown Pageant are: Terry Karns, Kerry Milone-Clapp, Kristen Fowler, and myself Sharon Rosequist. Our titleholders are Ellen Chu, Miss Tri-County, platform Overcoming Obstacles; Angie Abdelreheim, Miss Gateway, platform Cultural Diversity; Samantha Rossi, Miss Northern Lakes, platform Anti-Bullying; and Alexis Mott, Miss Gateway Outstanding Teen.

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