January 4, 2018

The Sisterhood is Very Real

With the recent events, I would like to focus this post on the powerful sisterhood that I am honored to be a part of.

I’d like to start it off with a little bit of a story. Last spring break (end of March 2017), I traveled the nation touring colleges that I was looking into attending. One of those colleges was in Atlanta, Georgia, where I spent a couple days in the city. I asked any local Outstanding Teen’s in the area if they wanted to meet up for lunch, and I was surprised to receive a response! Annaliese Mayo, at the time Miss Lake Lanier’s Outstanding Teen, from Georgia, was willing to meet up with a girl from Wisconsin, and give me a taste of southern hospitality. We became close friends in the short hours we had together, despite having homes a thousand miles apart. We exchanged contact information and have kept in contact ever since.

Weeks after spring break, I was crowned Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen 2017, after spending three days with some of the most inspiring and incredible teens from around the state of Wisconsin! Each and every one of those girls have become my closest friends. Some of the most memorable appearances are because I was able to meet up with local titleholders in the area and go out for lunch or spend some time together. The young teens in Wisconsin are people I see making a positive change in their community and changing people’s lives. They are leaders and individuals set on their goals and achieving them. After getting to know each of these young women, I firmly believe that any one of the teens could represent the state of Wisconsin excellently.

Shortly after being crowned, off to Orlando I went, for the most exhilarating week of my life: the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition. Although I didn’t win any awards in the competition itself, I feel like I walked away a winner because now I have friends from all over the nation. Just last week I was in Atlanta, and Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen 2017 was there with me. It’s this sisterhood that bonds us together and creates an unbreakable family.

The Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen contestants and titleholders aren’t just girls that wear crowns. We are strong, independent women. We are leaders in our communities, states, and nations. We are advocates for a positive impact and creators of a certain future. Through this, we are family. I’ve seen this through getting to know girls from Georgia to California to local competitors in my home state of Wisconsin.

That brings me to the next subject—I’m a little past six months into my reign now, and wow, has time flown by! Appearances have been a blast, MAOTeen was a blast, and I’m very excited for the plans I have set for the remaining six months of my year. But most of all, I’m thrilled to see who will be joining this incredible family next. Local season is kicking off this month, with a pageant nearly every weekend for the next three months. Who will be joining this strong, powerful, and very real sisterhood? It could be you, my friend.


Grace Stanke

Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen 2017