The Miss America Organization founded the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program in 2005 as a “little sister” program. Over the last 11 years, it has made available almost $5 million in cash and in-kind scholarships for teen girls throughout the country. This program is incredible as it provides young girls, ages 13-17 with a voice to make a difference in their community. Not to mention, it helps to prepare them with the necessary tools needed to succeed in school and life such as public speaking, forming relationships, confidence, and organizational skills to name a few. Teen titleholder, Sarah Niehueser is today’s Sisterhood Spotlight feature, enjoy!
Name: Sarah Niehueser
Birthday: February 7, 2000
Hometown: Fond Du Lac
Education: I spent kindergarten through 8th grade at Faith lutheran school in Fond du Lac and I am now currently a sophomore at Winnebago Lutheran Academy.
Dream job: Open my own veterinary practice.
Favorite color: Obviously blue, since most of my pageant gowns are blue! 🙂
1. What inspired you to get involved with the Miss America Organization? I decided to compete in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program after watching Miss America. I honestly envied the confidence and style the ladies competing had.
2. Tell us about your first MAO pageant. My first MAOT pageant was a whirlwind. I did the pageant with the mindset of just having fun and gaining interview skills. I ended that night not only being honored and humbled by winning Miss Fond Du Lac’s Oustanding teen but I also gained so many friends and valuable life skills. After that I was hooked.
3. What is/was your platform and why did you choose it? My platform is Little Feet Big Dreams; motivating the next generation of runners. I am a long time runner and have realized how much running has shaped me and modeled me into the young women I am today. My goal is to start up grade and elementary school cross county/track teams all over the state of Wisconsin and give kids the outlet and benefits that I have enjoyed from the competitive running sports.
4. What is your favorite phase of competition, why? Even though it’s the most nerve racking part, I love the interview phase. I love getting the opportunity to show the judges who I truly am and to voice my own opinions.
5. Style, Service, Scholarship, or Success? I value service the most of the 4 points. As it says in Matthew 20:28, Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve. As a woman of faith I value serving others and making a difference in their lives above my success, style, and scholarships.
6. What titles have you held and what were some of your biggest accomplishments or most cherished memories during each of them? (this can be answered in bullet format)
- Miss Fond Du Lac’s Outstanding Teen
- I won on my first try
- I had a blast at state
- I was blessed to meet Jessica Johnson who has remained one of my closest friends and mentor.
- Miss Wisconsin Central’s Outstanding Teen
- Winning my current title was a complete surprise. I still get chills to this day thinking about it!
- I got to meet a young girl named Lydia who deals with some serious health issues. We had a christmas party with her and her family and it was so amazing to get to see her open her presents and see the smile on her face. She truly touched my life with her strength.
7. What is/was your talent and what do/did you enjoy most about performing it? My talent is piano and the part I love about it the most is the feeling you can but into it. I love my new talent piece because it allows me to show both a sad and strong side.
8. Who is your biggest role model within the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Program? My biggest role model is Jessica Johnson. I was one of her sister queens when I had the title of Miss Fond Du Lac’s OT and she has become such an inspiration to me. She really took me under her wing and mentored me through my first crazy year of having a title. I someday hope to be as graceful, well spoken, and humble as she is.
9. Favorite comfort food outside of competition mode? I love love love love love love love spaghetti with meat sauce. I’m pretty sure I could just eat that for the rest of my life.
10. Who is your favorite Miss America? Why? I will always admire Vanessa Williams, Miss America 1984, for how she handled the whole scandal during her reign and for graciously stepping down. The fact that after all these years, she came back to judge a Miss America pageant and showed that there were no hard feelings is amazing.
11. How would you describe the feelings you had when you won your first local? What goes through your mind when you are standing on stage and you hear your name called? My mind always just goes blank. The first couple seconds after my name is called I pretty much forget how to walk or breathe or talk, its just a complete shock. In my mind i’m just saying thank you Lord Jesus thank you. I owe everything to God and without him I wouldn’t have been able to win.
12. If someone says, “You’re a beauty queen, what’s the relevancy of a pageant in today’s society,” what would you say to them? In today’s society, woman are making leaps and bounds in gaining rights and equally and education. The Miss America program grants these aspiring young women of today’s age scholarships that they can use to further their education and obtain the degree they desire. Miss america gives the modern day women the opportunities and skills to go out and be successful.
13. What is the most memorable moment you’ve experienced as a contestant/titleholder? My most memorable moment has to be meeting Lydia and her family. Because of her health issues, the family did not have enough money for christmas presents this year. Me and my fellow sisters went out and got presents for Lydia and her sisters to open for Christmas. Getting to see the smile on her face and learn about how strong she is through her struggles made me so humble. It made me realize how much I take for granted and gave me a new view of my life.
14. How has your involvement influenced your life? It has impacted my life in numerous ways. Through my involvement I have gained not only memorable experiences but also self confidence, poise, and useful skills that will help me in my future.
15. What advice would you give to fellow sisters, contestants, and young girls looking to one day compete for a title? My best piece of advice would be to stay true to yourself no matter what you do. There’s a reason God only made one of you so don’t try and be someone else.