Wow, I can't believe it has been a whole year already. I feel as if just yesterday I was crowned the National American Miss Texas Cover Girl. This has been the most incredible experience of my entire life. I have had so many opportunities to learn and to serve . I have conquered my fears. I have gained courage. I have learned more than I could have ever imagined, and I have made many new friends.
National American Miss has helped me so much with the Salvation Army . Right after I was crowned I immediately raised a lot of money and awareness for the Salvation Army. I was featured on Good Morning America. My story was picked up in over 10 different local news stations across the country. I have raised over $26,000 for my local Tyler Salvation Army. I was able to walk the Red carpet with Rhianna and Jim Parsons at the movie premiere of HOME. I was even able to host a hometown premiere for the kids of the Salvation Army with concessions stand treats . The author of HOME Adam Rex provided autographed books for the kids . DreamWorks hosted me on a tour of their studios. I even got to watch the taping of Mr. Peabody and Sherman and meet all the actors including Chris Parnell and Max Charles. Radio Disney invited me to visit their studios. I was luckily able to furnish two new rooms at the Salvation Army with our matching donor program. I rode in the State Fair of Texas Parade and the Tyler Christmas parade. Woman's Day magazine featured me in the Kindness Project program. I got to meet Senators, Congressmen and even a few Presidential hopefuls. I had a great opportunity to visit many National Parks during the 100 year celebration of the park system and speak to visitors about my service. I had the opportunity to speak at my school’s chapel service and across the state with the Salvation Army. A year ago I could not imagine speaking in front of a crowd of 300 but I can and I did. I have continued to do lemonade stands, food drives, fan drives, toothbrush and toothpaste drives, diaper drives, and videos on Instagram and Twitter. I even got to ring the Salvation Army bell, and so much more.
The “Golden ticket” was an amazing chance to see sunny California and be with my NAMily . One of my favorite parts was preparing for Nationals . I must have tried on over a million dresses before determined I found my perfect dress, which turned out to be the very first dress I tried on. I was so excited to go to Nationals I practically counted the seconds till the flight took off .
When our plane landed we had three huge carts to carry just my luggage. We had to be very creative with getting all of it in the rental car. I could hardly wait to get to the hotel, and when we got there you could actually see most of Disneyland out the window. Which if you love Disney like I do it's pretty amazing!
I made so many new friends at Nationals. I met Liliana Torpey-Bahr just standing in line . We have grown to be great friends. In fact, early this year I went to Philadelphia to visit her .
For my successor don’t miss a minute of it. It will pass all too quickly. Use every opportunity that this honor gives you for the good of others.
Now for those who have helped me along the way. Lakishia Edwards you have been a great friend and we have shared so many great times. Thank you for coming to Tyler. To the Mayes family thank you for the fun, the friends and an amazing program to be part of. To the Salvation Army of Tyler and Lindsey Galabeas thank you for helping me help the Army. You are a daily example of what hard work and commitment looks like. Thank you to Sergio Armas and Terry Costa for always helping me look my best. Finally to my parents thank you for teaching me about the love of God and how to serve. My Grandmother what can I say but thank you for everything you do to help my Mom and I everyday. My favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me. So now with appreciation and love and looking to the future I am, Caroline Wells, your 2015 Texas Pre-Teen Cover Girl.