One of the many incredible things about the Miss America Organization as a whole is the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program. My hometown pageant (first pageant) didn’t have a teen program and I didn’t have a teen my first title I served as Miss La Crosse/Oktoberfest 2012. Although I knew about it, it’s one of those things you can truly get a grasp of until you experience it yourself. When I was crowned Miss Seven Rivers 2014, I was blessed to have Annie Skogen as my teen. From that moment on, I gained a different perspective entirely about the growth opportunities this program provides and the outlets it opens for young women in the community.
I am constantly amazed by how poised, well-spoken, and talented teens are; thinking they’re much older than they are and then I remember that they’re only 13, 14, 15, or 16. One of those remarkable young women is Faith Tanke, Miss Seven Rivers’ Outstanding Teen 2015. She is so bubbly, outgoing, talented, and compassionate. Oh and I only wish I could sing and play the piano like her, she’s a gem and there’s no doubt in my mind she will accomplish wonderful things within the MAO.
Name: Faith Tanke
Birthday: March 17, 1999
Hometown: Onalaska, WI
Education: West Salem, WI
Dream job: News broadcaster
Favorite color: Mint blue
1. What inspired you to get involved with the Miss America Organization? I had a friend who got involved with this organization and was wanting me to compete with her. I was on edge about it at first because I had never really heard about the MAO. After attending the informational meeting, I was hooked and was very excited to be apart of of an organization that has so much to offer young women.
2.Tell us about your first MAO pageant. My first MAO pageant was one of the most fun experiences of my life. I made so many friendships that will last a lifetime. I was shy and not confident before my first competition, but because of meeting so many amazing young women and having the support from an amazing director, I broke the shell that I felt confined to. I was able to express my self in a whole new way. I did not win the first pageant that I competed in and I am very glad that I didn’t. That experience prepared me for what was ahead, not winning the pageant taught me how to handle disappointment and how to persevere with something that I was passionate about.
3. What is/was your platform and why did you choose it? Previously my platform was entitled “From compassion to action, changing the world through volunteerism,” focusing on encouraging young people to reach out and make a difference in their community. I just recently changed my platform to “Loving Hearts Active Minds,” which focuses on Alzheimers awareness and prevention. Going through this with my grandmother really made me realize how important this issue is and how little people really know about it. My goal is to make people aware of what Alzheimers really is and how they can delay the effects of Alzheimers in themselves and hopefully prevent it. I also want to show people how to really love and care for someone with this disease.
4. What is your favorite phase of competition, why? My favorite phase of competition is the talent portion. I think all aspects of competition are important because each element is a different way to express yourself and allow the judges to get to know you. The talent is my favorite because I LOVE being on stage. I went from being a shy 14 year old who wouldn’t sing in front of even her parents, to a confident young woman who seeks out opportunities to share her talent with people. Singing is the best way I can express myself and show who I am, I love preforming and I love the opportunities to show my passion for music to the audience and the judges.
5. Style, Service, Scholarship, or Success? Each element has such great importance in representing the MAO. As a titleholder it is important for us to embody each of these “points,” but a special one for me is service. Serving is something that has had a HUGE impact on my life and sharing that with others is so important to me. It is amazing to know that the organization that you are representing puts such a value on service to the community, it is inspiring to be apart of such an amazing organization.
6. What titles have you held and what were some of your biggest accomplishments or most cherished memories during each of them?
I held the title of Miss Seven Rivers Outstanding Teen. I was recently blessed with the title of Miss Fox River Valleys outstanding teen.
Greatest accomplishments and memories from my year:
- Speaking to children about the benefits of volunteering.
- Getting to share my platform at different community events.
- Forming a life long sisterhood with Miss Seven Rivers, Sarah Newton.
- Strengthening my platform and having many opportunities to promote and work with it.
- Getting to sing onstage With Jenn Bostic
7. What is/was your talent and what do/did you enjoy most about performing it? For my talent, I sang and played piano to the song “Not Yet” by Jenn Bostic. I loved this piece because it was all about overcoming struggles in your life and not letting anyone tear you down. The emotion behind the song was one part that I loved. I really got to express myself and show the character of the song the the judges and the audience.
8. Who is your biggest role model within the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Program? There are two very special people who have been very influential role models In my life, they are my Miss Americas. Abby Ryan and Sarah Newton have been my everything through my year as a title holder. They are constant supporters in my life and they are both always there to cheer me on. The way that they live their lives and their passion for the MAO is inspiring to me. I know that those two will always always be there for me and will constantly be inspiring me so do great things.
9. Favorite comfort food outside of competition mode? Peach frozen yogurt from yogurt lab.
10. 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? I was in complete shock. When you hear your name being called it almost doesn’t feel real. All I wanted to do was cry out of joy but I couldn’t because I was so shocked! It was the most Amazing feeling. I didn’t know what to do when I heard my name, But I knew that moment that my life would be changed forever.
11. 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? I would explain the benefits of the MAO. Talk to them about experiences that I have had and others have had. The most important thing that I would talk to them about is the value that the MAO places on the four points of the crown and what exactly that is. Those four points really represent what the MAO is all about. Style is about being comfortable in your own skin ad living your own style. Service is about giving back and helping out in the community. Scholarship is because of all of the scholarship dollars that are given to young women to help them further their education. Success is about setting your own personal goals and setting out to achieve them.
12.What is the most memorable moment you’ve experienced as a contestant/titleholder? My most memorable moment was with my sister queen, Sarah. Miss Wisconsin Week we were separated from our Misses. We got to watch them perform on the first night of preliminary competition, but were not able to talk to them after. The second day we had out interviews in the morning and they had had theirs the day before. I was stressed out, tired, and nervous…all that I wanted to do was see Sarah. After the second preliminary night, we got to ride the bus home with our misses. That is such a remarkable memory for me back because it was amazing to see all of the teens interacting with their misses. It really showed the true sisterhood that the MAO creates. I got to spend 10 minutes just talking with Sarah and that was probably the best part of my week there. Knowing that she was supporting me and cheering me on meant the world to me and that is a memory that will never be forgotten.
13. How has your involvement influenced your life? My life has been impacted in too many ways through this organization to count. It has impacted my confidence in ways I can’t even explain. I have also formed relationships that will last a lifetime. The people I have met through this organization have impacted my life in tremendous ways, they are so inspiring and kind. Every person I have met through this organization has touched my life in one way or another.
14. What advice would you give to fellow sisters, contestants, and young girls looking to one day compete for a title? Have fun! Competing in a pageant is FUN! Be sure to meet people and form friendships because those friendships will last a lifetime and put EVERYTHING you’ve got into preparing…I promise it will pay off.