The Miss America Organization (MAO) is the largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. Last year over 45 million dollars in cash and tuition assistance was made available. This year is the 88th year the MAO has operated making it one of the oldest and most prestigious pageants. The MAO is one of the largest community service organizations in the country, these women will donate over 500,000 hours this year in service to their community. This is a not for profit organization dedicated to empowering young women to achieve their personal, professional and educational goals. The young women who compete are intelligent, articulate, highly motivated, caring, talented, ambitious and serve in their communities. These are among the reasons that I volunteer my time as a judge and interview coach to support their efforts.
I've remained a supporter because I've seen the transformation that occurs when a young woman commits herself to become the best she can be. At a pageant only one girl is awarded a title but there are no losers, only winners. If a young woman can overcome her fears to compete in front of an audience in talent, swimsuit, on stage interview and evening gown competitions she will find a normal job interview a piece of cake.
Following are some of the outstanding young women that Stephanie and I have had the privilege to meet and watch compete in various Miss America local pageants.
Catherine Brown, Miss Wyoming 2011 and Buck Dopp
Catherine Brown, Miss Wyoming 2011 in swimsuit
Miss Utah 2010
Kayla Barclay-Hall, Miss Utah 2008
Jamie Mecham and Bonnie Evans with the Miss Utah Judges
Sharlene Wells Hawkes, Miss AMERICA 1985 WITH THE MISS UTAH JUDGES
Sharlene Wells Hawkes and Julia Bachison
Kayla Barclay and Julia Bachison
MARVIN AND LAURIE BLUM
Justi and Bonnie
Miss Wyoming 2010 Pageant Photo Album
Ronica Licciardello and Patrick Cleary
Ronica Licciardello, Miss Philadephia 2005 with fiance Patrick Cleary in Sedona, Arizona in March 2010. They were married on Saturday, June 5, 2010. Patrick is a recent grad of Harvard Business School and served our country as a combat Marine officer in Iraq. I thank him for his service to our country.
Gretchen Carlson was Miss America in 1989 from my home state of Minnesota. She was the first classical violinist to win the crown.Gretchen graduated with honors from Stanford University and also studied at Oxford University in England. She is a national celebrity spokesperson for the March of Dimes and continues to be an advocate of the arts. She is a co-host for the Fox and Friends morning show which is the number one rated show in that time slot. She was a reporter in Richmond when we lived in Chesterfield County. Gretchen couldn't have been nicer to Steph and I when we visited her during a break from her show. She is the same person off air as she is on air. That's a compliment I only pay to those who deserve it. :)
Miss Delaware 1962--Ali Stark
Ali Stark is one of our favorite Miss Delawares. She had a spectacular career as a lawyer and is one of the most humorous people we know. She's still a beautiful person inside and out. She was Miss Delaware 1962. Her talent during the Miss America competition was doing the twist. For Ali, life continues to be a wild ride!
Shoha Parekh Codding, Jamie Ginn and Becky Bledsoe
These are three of my favorite Miss Delawares who epitomize the qualities of the Miss America Organization:
Linda Kurtz was a host/producer for Comcast Newsmakers for several years. She also hosted and produced Red Carpet interviews on location for Comcast and read the morning news for CN8's "Your Morning." Linda has an MBA from Goldey-Beacom College and is a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Course. Linda is one of the smartest people I've ever worked with but she never flaunted her intelligence or her good looks. I guess that's what I liked about her. She's the girl next door. She's honest, hardworking and willing to grow to be better at her job. I only had to tell Linda something one time and she would get it. One of the biggest blessings of my working career was to watch how she took on all the challenges that beset her with class and grace. This picture was taken by Stephanie at Miss America in 2004 when Linda was competing for that crown. I think she should have won. I've never posted or shared this picture because Linda had moved on from "pageant world" to a professional career in broadcast journalism. This picture was part of her past. But I asked Linda's permission to post this and she agreed. It's my favorite picture of Linda. To see her website click on:
In the YouTube Video below, Jamie Ginn, Miss Delaware 2006 performs at the Miss Wilmington Scholarship Pageant on January 7, 2006 which happened to be her birthday. She was supposed to have emceed the pageant but had a really bad cold and couldn't speak, although she tried but had to give up the podium to someone else. Nevertheless, she danced and as you can see, she danced her heart out. This was her last appearance before competing for Miss America and she went there with this same sickness but did her best and I think represented Delaware well.
Kayla Barclay is a Sophmore at Brigham Young University and her platform is Internet Safety, "Don't Get Caught in the Net."
She plans to graduate from Brigham Young University with a Bacherlor's Degree in Psychology and pursue a Masters Degree in Social Work. She has a college GPA of 3.7.
She performed a piano solo, Scherzo #2 in B flat minor from Opus 31 by Chopin.
I was on the panel of judges who selected Kayla as Miss Utah. Her first impression is stunning. She is strikingly beautiful and when she takes the stage, she owns it. She exudes total confidence on stage and answers questions directly, honestly and eloquently. She is the all American girl, well rounded and was a top competitor in every phase of the competition. I believe she could win Miss America.
Kayla Barclay calls a friend to say she won!
Miss Utah Top Ten on July 12
Kayla Barclay and Buck Dopp
Miss Utah 2007 Jill Stevens
Jill Stevens on 7.12.2008
Buck with Jill Stevens, Miss Utah 2007
I got my wish. I was hoping to get a picture with Jill Stevens when the Miss Utah judges did a warm up interview with her during the Miss Utah Pageant. I did. Jill Stevens is even more beautiful and attractive than on TV or in pictures. She exudes energy and fitness. She's a dynamic woman and she's going places. I took several pictures of her when she was clowning around and making faces which I won't put up here out of respect for her. It takes a woman with a lot of confidence to make funny faces for a photographer. She's a beautiful woman, even when she's clowining around.
At her farewell luncheon, she bared her soul to everyone and told a story and sang a song, both of which made the tears stream down my face.
She clearly loves the Army and is a great representative of the military service and what it can do. Her enlistment runs out soon and she will have to decide whether or not to re-up. I suggested that if she wants to make a career of it, she should become an officer. In my opinion, Jill would get more pay and have more opportunities as an officer. She is a poster girl for the US Army that's for sure. After observing her over the course of the week that I was in Salt Lake, I've come to the conclusion that she should pursue a career in public relations, marketing or acting. She's got the drive and personality to do just about anything she wants to do. She has a book coming out soon about her experiences. This contestant who made top 15 and then did push ups on the main stage at Miss America was America's Choice for Miss America by the voting on the internet.
Did I say she runs marathons?
Jill Stevens is the REAL DEAL.
Sgt. Jill Stevens Miss Utah 2007
Jill Stevens, Miss Utah 2007
For the past 6 years, Jill Stevens has been serving in the US Military as a Combat Medic in the Utah National Guard, while earning her degree in Nursing at Southern Utah University. In November 2003, Jill was deployed to Afghanistan, returning home in April 2005. She has earned 5 medals for her outstanding service, and was the first female finisher of the inaugural Afghanistan Marathon, making a total of 12 marathons she has completed together with earning the highest Fitness award during Army Basic Training. In representing the Army National Guard, Sergeant Stevens recently addressed Generals from 40 different nations gathered at Hill Air Force Base.In addition to her US Military service, Jill recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Nursing program at Southern Utah University on a four-year leadership scholarship. Last summer, she placed 3rd in the Cinco De Mayo Sailboat Regatta in Mexico, and this summer, Jill was chosen one of four women for the “Women of Strength” featured in Muscle and Fitness Hers Magazine September/October 2007 issue. Additionally, Jill has been a fitness instructor for Gold’s Gym for several years, as well as a bread baker for Great Harvest. Possibly one of the most unusual adventures for Jill though, has been her unexpected experience in becoming Miss Utah 2007, and her participation in national competition in the Miss America Pageant in January 2008 where she won the People's Choice Award by voters on the internet.
Julia Bachison, Miss Utah USA 2008 and Miss Utah 2005
Julia Bachison, Miss Utah USA
Julia Bachison at the LDS Visitor's Center in Salt Lake City, Utah
Julia Bachison is Miss Utah USA 2008 and was Miss Utah 2005 in the Miss America system. She is a talented and beautiful lady and Steph and I were so blessed to spend a little time with her during the Miss Utah Pageant. She's a beauty on the outside and inside and hopes to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism. To learn more about Julia, go to:
Julia at the Salt Lake Public Library
Miss Utah 1990 Jennifer Nakken Childs
Jennifer Nakken Childs Miss Utah 1990
I had the priviledge to meet Jennifer Childs this summer when we were on the same judging panel that selected Kayla Barclay as Miss Utah 2008.
Jennifer is a beautiful woman who handles herself with dignity and class. Bonnie Evans, who has been volunteered at the Miss Utah Pageant for thirty years, said that Jennifer was the greatest dancer she had ever seen. Jennifer was only 19 when she won the crown and except for a 2nd runner up showing in the Miss Utah State fair had never competed before the year she won the titile of Miss Utah. At Miss America, Jennifer won a non-finalist talent award for her character ballet.
Jennifer went on to attend Brigham Young University with the scholarship money she won for competing in the pageant.
Jennifer Childs in Salt Lake City
This is a picture I took of Jennifer Childs after a dinner in Salt Lake City during pageant week. She is married to Chip Childs who is the COO of Sky West Airlines. They are very proud parents of Jacob, 11, Seth 8 and 2 year old twins Luke and Olivia. What probably impressed me the most about Jennifer was her commitment to being a great wife to Chip and the best mother she can to her children. What accomplishments could match these?
Miss Delaware 2008 Photo Album
Galen Giaccone, Miss Delaware 2008
Congratulations to Galen Giaccone our Miss Delaware 2008!
She's majoring in Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware and her platform is dental outreach. Her local director is Dineen Bejger.
Galen won the preliminary talent talent with her piano playing which was superb.
Delaware's Miss Outstanding Teen 2008--Amanda Debus
John Morris, Ronnie Weaver, Buck Dopp, Nicole Daliessis-Zehnder and Groome Mears--The DMOT Judges April 20, 2008
Brittany Dempsey is crowned Miss Delaware 2007
Jamie Ginn and Lauren Gagliardino on April 13, 2008
Buck and Jamie Ginn
Jackie Chilcote Miss West Chester University and Michael J. Hartman
Bliss Soucek Miss Milford 2007 and Buck Dopp
Buck Steph Brittany Dempsey Miss DE 2007 Carole Stevens and Bobbey Biddle
There she goes, Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund!
Congratulations to Kirsten Haglund, Miss Michigan who is now our reigning Miss America. She won $50,000 in scholarship dollars and will earn it by traveling about 20,000 miles per month making public appearances and supporting Children's Miracle Network. I thought Kirsten represented herself well throughout the reality show and the pageant itself. She has the qualities we look for in Miss America. We like to say that it is a scholarship pageant and not a beauty pageant. But I don't think it is an ugly pageanet either. Miss America should be beautiful on the inside first and foremost but she should be beautiful on the outside too...and she showed it by winning the lifestyle and fitness competition during her preliminary night.
For more on Kirsten Haglund, click on the link below:
Kristen Nelson and Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2007 and 2008
Congratulations to Elyse Umemoto, Miss Washington for being the 2nd runner up, in the top three. I had the priviledge of being on the judges' panel for the Miss Washington Pageant this summer and I know first hand about the talent of this amazing young lady.
MISS WASHINGTON 2007
Elyse graduated from Pacific Lutheran University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Minor in Biology. Her ambition is to go on to law school and practice law in the field of behavioral health issues and public policy.
Elyse entered the pageant as Miss Seattle and is proud of her unique heritage. She is Japanese, American Indian, Indian, German and Hispanic. She lived in the Marianas Islands for three years and plays the trumpet and piano.
"...I will now and forever live my life as a voice for those in need and a force for change. I am committed to pursuing my dreams and living my life to its fullest. I enthusiastically encourage all young women to do the same."
---Elyse Umemoto Miss Washington 2007
Miss Washington Pageant 2007
Charlie Van Tramp, Elyse Umemoto and Peggy Miller
Miss Washington Judges on the final night
Kristen Eddings, Miss Washington 2006 singing "It is Well With My Soul."
Kristen sang two final songs before giving up her crown to the new Miss Washington, Elyse Umemoto. The first song she sang was that great old Christian Hymn, "It is Well With My Soul." As the curtain opened on the stage, she was standing in the back, the spot light hit her and she slowly started walking towards stage front center while singing the song, the first refrain she sang was, "When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll;Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul."
Kristen Eddings and Buck
Miss Washington Top 5
Top Five at the Miss Washington Scholarship Pageant 2007
(l-r) Alex Duchemin, Shannon Tuohy, Elyse Umemoto,Tina Faulkner and Charlotte Smith
2007 Miss Washington contestants
Miss Americas I Have Met
Sharlene Wells Hawkes, Miss America 1985 from Utah
Susan Powell, Miss America 1981
Susan Powell, Miss America 1981
Kim Akin-Cockerham, Miss America 1994--Buck with Kim Akin-Cockerham, Miss America 1994--She is really a beautiful woman and was my fellow judge at the Miss South Carolina pageant in 2006. She was the first black Miss South Carolina and at 19, one of the youngest Miss America contestants to win the title.
Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004. Ericka is pursuing a career in Nashville as a country western singer.
Deidre Downs, Miss America 2005
Buck, Deidre Downs and Carly Economos, Miss DE Outstanding Teen 2005
Jennifer Berry, Miss America 2006
Miss Delawares I have known
Ali Stark, Miss DE 1962 and Beth Ann Jones Sheehan, Miss DE 1991
Jodi Graham Parker, Miss DE 1981
Michelle Harris Anderson, Miss DE 1995
Miss Delawares Beth Ann Sheehan (1991) and Mary Lee Kleinkauf-(1966)
Alison White, Miss Delaware 1997
Alison and Stephanie
George Codding and Shoha Parekh, Miss Delaware 2002.Miss Delaware 2002, Shoha Parekh. This is the young woman who inspired me to get involved with the Miss America Organization which is the largest source of scholarships for women in the world. Last year 45 million in scholarship money went to about 12,000 young women. Shoha and George , her husband live in Jersey City. George works on Wall Street.
Steph, Shoha Parekh, Miss DE 2002 and Buck
Erin E. Williams, Miss Delaware 2003.Erin E. Williams, Miss Delaware 2003. I was proud to be on the panel of judges who selected Erin. I was the novice judge but I knew talent, intelligence and beauty when I saw it!
Ryan and Erin Williams, Miss DE 2003 at Miss America
Buck, Becky Bledsoe, Miss Delaware 2005 and Steph
Becky and Linda Bledsoe
Jamie Ginn, Miss Delaware 2006
Jamie Ginn and Father
Michael Hartman and Jamie Ginn, Miss Delaware 2006
Buck and Jamie Ginn
Brittany Dempsey, Miss Delaware 2007
Brittany Dempsey, Miss Delaware 2007
Miss Delaware USA 2008 Vincenza Carrieri-Russo
Vincenza Carrieri-Russo, Miss Delaware USA 2007
Stephanie Janes, Miss Delaware U.S. 2007
Miss New Jersey
Ashley Fairfield Miss New Jersey 2008
Julie Barber, Miss New Jersey 2001
Julie Robenhymer, Miss New Jersey 2005
Julie Robenhymer in a tv studio
Georgine DiMaria, Miss New Jersey 2006
Georgine DiMaria and violin
Buck Dopp and Rachel Brooks, Miss Pennsylvania 2007
Kim Rogers and Agnes White
Ronica Licciardello, Miss Philadelphia 2005
Kristin Gauvin Miss Massachusetts 2005
Buck and Erika Ebbel, Miss Massachusetts 2004
Miss Mass 2005, Kristin Gauvin and Stephanie
Miss South Carolina
Shelley Benthall, Miss South Carolina 2006
Maggie Hill, SC Outstanding Teen, Buck and Shelley Benthall Miss South Carolina
Buck and Shelley. Taken by Stephanie on the freight elevator just after Shelley was crowned Miss South Carolina 2006
Betsy Uschkrat, Miss Indiana 2006
Betsy in Marilyn Monroe's Handprint
George and Carma Faust with Betsy
Buck and Heather Cunningham, Mrs. New Jersey 2007
Buck and Susan Huntley, Mrs. NJ 2006
Carly Economos, Miss Hockessin 2007
Lauren Gagliardinio, Miss Brandywine 2007
Lauren Gagliardino as Delaware's Outstanding Teen 2006
Buck and Lauren Gagliardino
Buck and Chelsea Betts, Delaware's Outstanding Teen 2007
Vlada, Buck and Mrs. Berry. Vlada was Miss NJ Teen 2005
Katie Berry 2007, NJ National Teenager. It was my priviledge to be on her judges' panel.
Robin Victoria Williams
Chris Perez, Kameelah Majied, Susan Huntley and Mike Hartman