Wow!! What a whirlwind this year has been! I never imagined my life could get so busy! Soon after my crowning as the 2012 Miss New York State Junior Pre-Teen, I became involved in volunteering my time at multiple charity runs and walks to benefit some very important causes in my community. I even sang the National Anthem at a few of them! My ongoing support of Heifer International continued through my birthday party donations and I became actively involved in a regional anti-bullying campaign.
Every weekend when my Grandma Molly came over for Sunday brunch after Church we would work together on my scrapbook, adding pictures from any new events, and make other plans for our trip to California. I am so happy we had these special weekend times together which I will remember forever.
Then came NAM Nationals. I had so much fun meeting the other girls and making friends from all over the country. I especially loved spending the day at Disney with my sister Mary (my biggest cheerleader and best little sister in the world), plus also my new friend Teagan (Miss Pennsylvania). Sightseeing through the streets of Hollywood with Teagan and Lilyan (Miss Oregon) was so much fun... especially watching the artists on the Santa Monica Pier and our bus ride antics!! We even met some Hollywood stars! I'm so glad Lola from my NY Queen's Court was able to come to Nationals and I loved sharing Thanksgiving dinner with her.
As if the fun of that week wasn't enough, I was blessed with placing in the Top 15 overall, 1st Runner Up in the Spokesmodel Division, 1st Runner Up for the Alumni Association Scholarship, 1st Runner Up in the Thank you Note contest and was the Scrapbook contest Winner! I was so proud to be recognized for all the work I had invested in my various NAM projects.
Thank you to Ray for handling Public Relations for me to advance my anti-bullying cause during the course of my year and for driving me in such a cool car at the parades. Performing my anti-cyberbullying skits live throughout Monroe County has been really fun and I was even able to meet the anti-bullying activist and Hollywood performer Jake Miller!! I am proud to say that my campaign now extends way further than I ever imagined to include community television across the Northeastern US.
Thank you to Bella, Emma, Oksana and especially Marivi for being such enthusiastic Sister Queens. I am so happy we were able to coordinate our busy lives to spend time together and will forever remember my surprise Miss America birthday party (Thanks Marivi!).
Thank you so much to my great state directors Lew and Patti Schneider for your constant enthusiasm and behind-the-scenes work. Thanks to Joy for keeping everyone on time and fixing any problems without ever ever seeming panicked. Thanks to the phenomenal choreographers and production team (especially Mackenzie, Jaime, Camille, Leah and Holly) and to Wyatt and Zac for their great photography.
Oops! How could I forget about Mom and Dad??! Thank you both so much for being so supportive of me all year. I know my non-stop schedule of events has left you with no free time, but I think our family is even stronger for everything we've accomplished together. You are the best coaches, cheerleaders, stylists and video-makers any girl could ask for!!
Although I would love my special year to go on forever, I am so happy to pass along this incredible experience to a new girl. To my successor, remember to make the most of your year because you will be amazed by how many opportunities there are, but how soon the time slips past you. To all the contestants tonight, please believe me when I say that it isn't the winning that matters... you can create so many special experiences for yourselves without a crown or banner-- be creative, be kind and opportunities will find you.
Love and Peace from Liza Cotter
National American Miss 2012
Miss New York Jr PreTeenSM
Having fun in Cali for the NAM National Pageant!
Meeting Maria Menounos at the Grove during the NAM National Pageant!
Fun at the National Pageant!
Miss North New York Jr PreTeen 2012