BY BECCA JONES-SCALES WEEKLY REPORTER
O’FALLON – Earlier this month, Madeleine Henken was crowned Miss O’Fallon 2016 and, to her, its more than just a title.
“Miss O’Fallon is a role model for young girls in our community. She’s someone who can have a positive impact on our community,” says Henken. She wanted to be Miss O’Fallon because, “my best friend, Grace Blankenship, was the reigning Miss O’Fallon. She had a great year with a lot of fun… It was also a way to get myself out there and build confidence and to something different for the community,” Henken said.
Throughout her year of service, the reigning Miss O’Fallon takes part in ribbon cuttings, is involved with the POW/MIA organization, meets with the Women’s Club, says the Pledge of Allegiance at various events, helps judge Halloween costumes, and goes to parades. In fact, the new Miss O’Fallon was in a Fairview Heights parade this past Saturday.
There were many steps along the way for Henken during her journey to the crown. She had to register with the main office at the high school, attend an informational meeting, and attend practices on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s at Adam’s School of Dance. Henken and the other young ladies participating in the pageant got to meet with Blankenship for ice cream and pageant advice. The night of the pageant, each girl was individually interviewed by a panel of five judges. The pageant itself consisted of an opening dance number with all the girls together and swimsuit, talent, and evening gown portions of competition.
Henken said that when she won the crown, “it was just so crazy. I was so excited and shocked. Everyone doing the pageant this year was so amazing and talented… I had no idea who was going to win. It was like a dream come true.”
One of Henken’s inspirations throughout her pursuit of the Miss O’Fallon title was her grandmother.
“My grandma inspires me the most. She is a very respectful and respectable woman. She’s classy, cares about everyone, an honest person, and independent. It’s so important for women to be independent and able to take care of themselves,” Henken said.
Off the stage and at school, Henken is a second year captain of the Golden Girls and is in the National Honors Society, French Honors Society, Ultimate Frisbee, and the OTHS Leadership Society. With this being her senior year, she hopes to have a lot of fun and make good memories. Henken also wants to make a lot of friends and get to know more people this year. She commented on how O’Fallon is such a large school with so many interesting people she’s never gotten the opportunity to meet. In her future, she aspires to go to college in the south and become an orthodontist.
And because we had to ask the new Miss O’Fallon a pageant question, Henken shared the one person and three things she would want to have if she were stranded on a deserted island.
“My sister, Elizabeth. Even though we fight, she’s always been a good friend to me. Hopefully together, we would be able to get off. I wouldn’t bring my cell phone because that would be pointless. I would bring a tent to sleep in, a bible so I can pray to get off the island, and a pack of bottled water,” Henken replied.