Young competitor uses life strengths to propel her toward NashvilleIt began about six years ago. Jodi Sharlow of River Falls read the information she’d received by mail about a national scholastic competition program and thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her shy little daughter, Danielle.
By: Vera Roy-Stoeberl, River Falls Journal
It began about six years ago. Jodi Sharlow of River Falls read the information she’d received by mail about a national scholastic competition program and thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her shy little daughter, Danielle.
Jodi entered 10-year-old Danielle in the state contest division, who would compete with other girls her own age from Wisconsin.
Now at 16, Danielle Sharlow has blossomed into a confident and lovely young girl, who will represent her home state when she competes in Nashville in July — this time with other girls her own age from across the country.
Danielle has been associated with the America’s National Teenager program during these last six years and has reaped rewards as a result, personally and financially.
“It’s helped me develop as a person,” said Danielle. “I’ve gotten to meet some amazing people from Wisconsin, and now I’ll get to meet more from all over the country.”
Mom, Jodi, agrees.
“She used to be so shy,” said Jodi about her daughter. “This experience has really changed her. It’s truly helped her develop as a person and opened her up.”
The America’s National Teenager program has a strong mission based more so on scholastic achievement and leadership, rather than just beauty and talent. However, the latter two traits can have partial bearing on the contest’s outcome.
Its mission reads: “America’s National Teenager promotes strong scholastic ideals, solid leadership principles and high character growth to young women. All national and state winners are awarded scholarships and the opportunity to serve as positive role models to teens across America.
“ANTSO (America’s National Teenager Scholarship Organization) holds to the highest standards of quality and integrity and conducts all competitions in a fair and unbiased manner. America’s National Teenager is recognized as one of the longest running, most prestigious female teen scholarship pageant competition awarding nearly $5 million in scholarships annually.
“ANTSO is proud to offer glamour, service, scholarship and style to all its competitors.”
The competition scoring is broken down in this manner: Academic achievement, 15%; leadership/extra-curricular/community involvement, 15%; interview, 30%; poise and personality in evening wear, 15%; personal expression, 15%; and public speaking, 10%.
During her six year involvement, Danielle has managed to accumulate about $20,000, some in savings bonds, that will be applied to her college education when the time comes. Danielle has earned those awards as she has competed in the various age groups over this time. She has been awarded “sub-category” titles such as Miss Hospitality, place as first-runner-up, and won a “super model” award, just this year.
The busy young girl has had to work to prove her mettle as she has competed. Volunteerism has become her strong point. Danielle listed some of the area volunteer services she has offered: Assisting clients and stocking shelves at the River Falls Food Pantry; playing games, helping with craft projects and homework with youngsters at the Boys and Girls Club in St. Paul; offering foster and rescue care to stray dogs; and planning to lead a Bible school class at Ezekiel Lutheran Church.
This week Danielle plans to begin scholarship fundraising efforts on behalf of the America’s National Teenager program. She explained that she must pay an entry fee to take part in the competition. Entry fees and donations to the program are combined and, in turn, doled out to competitors.
In order to create a substantial award, contestants engage in various fundraising projects. Danielle’s will include: A 10 a.m. Saturday, June 6, carwash at Dick’s Fresh Market; the sale of coupons for Kwik Trip pizza or doughnuts, where Danielle receives a portion of coupons sold; mowing lawns (call her to arrange the service); and selling 10 business ads which will be printed in the Nashville competition’s program handed out to audience members and distributed elsewhere nationally.
Danielle will also accept personal donations from area residents willing to support her efforts.
The young woman said though the monetary rewards are good, the personal aspect of the contest is worth much more.
“It’s so much fun meeting new people and becoming friends,” said Danielle about her fellow contestants. “We are all going to be together all the time, and have such a fun time. We even help each other out, like giving advice about what to wear, or what makeup to use, and we share so much together.”
Jodi has enjoyed her daughter’s competitive experience as well, having met other parents during this time. She’s also marveled at the way the girls bond in a positive way, despite the competition.
“It’s interesting to see how they connect,” said Jodi.
Persons interested in more information about Danielle’s goals and role in the competition, those who want to make a donation, or area residents who need their lawn mowed can call Jodi’s cell phone at 715-497-5662.