Ten compete to be Miss O’Fallon 2016 Friday evening

O’FALLON – Ten contestants will take the stage Friday evening to compete for the title of Miss O’Fallon 2016.

Grace Blankenship won last year’s contest and will be passing her crown onto another local girl at this year’s event.

The annual pageant will take place at the OTHS Milburn Campus, in the auditorium, starting at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6. Tickets are $7 each.

Pageant organizers would like to remind everyone of the roundabout construction at the intersection of Simmons Road and Milburn School Road and to take an alternate route.

Photos courtesy of Studio 50 Photography, O’Fallon.

#1 Kara TrippContestant Number One
Kara Tripp

Kara Tripp is seventeen years old and about to enter her senior year at O’Fallon Township High School. She is the daughter of Tim and Melinda Tripp. Kara moved here at the age of eight when her father retired from the Army and has lived in O’Fallon for most of her life. Though only living in here for nearly nine years, she calls O’Fallon her hometown.

Kara plans to attend University of Illinois and study alto saxophone performance and dietetics, along with completing pre-med school requirements. In her dietetics research, she hopes to develop vegan diets for the working individual that could potentially be served in fast food restraints. She then plans to attend Medical school and become a trauma surgeon.

If Kara receives the honor of being Miss O’Fallon 2016-2017, she would strive to represent her community with the highest respect and honor. She strives to be a role model for the young people in O’Fallon. She hopes that her passion for helping others would rub off onto everyone she meets in the community.

#2 Mackenzie BallanceContestant Number Two
Mackenzie Ballance

Mackenzie Ballance is the daughter of Matt and Amy Ballance.  Mackenzie is one of four daughters in her family also including Madison (19), Alaina (13), and Ava (8).  She is 17 years old and will be a senior at O’Fallon Township High School in the fall.  Mackenzie has lived in O’Fallon for most of her life and couldn’t imagine her childhood to be any different without her participation in many town events.

Mackenzie hopes to attend a large public university such as University of Kentucky or Mizzou and major in nursing to eventually continue her studies in becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

If Mackenzie receives the title of Miss O’Fallon 2016, she will not let her hometown down and show everyone how to start their day and work through tough times wearing a smile.

#3 Jurne Smith-TraylorContestant Number Three
Jurne Smith-Traylor

Jurne Smith-Traylor is the only daughter of Gary and Tenille Traylor. This fall she will be a senior at O’Fallon Township High school. In her last year of high school, Jurne’s goal is to excel in academics and to also make more life long friends.

Following her senior year, Jurne would like to join the Air force National Guard and study to be a Fertility Specialist. Having known women with fertility problems, she would love to increases the chances of completing families. She feels that it is important to know the values of having a close-knit family.

If Jurne has the opportunity to become Miss O’fallon 2016-2017, she would focus on representing the city with the utmost respect. She will strive to encourage more youth to become active in community activities. Jurne would love to talk with young ladies, strengthening their self-esteems. She would like young women everywhere to understand their power as well as their ability to become anything that they would like to be. Jurne encourages everyone to follow their dreams.

#4 Aimee SteinContestant Number Four
Aimee Stein

Aimee Stein is the daughter of Robert and Monica Stein. She is seventeen years old and will be a senior at O’Fallon Township High School this fall. Born in Hampton, Virginia, Aimee grew up on Air Force bases all over the world with stops in Europe and across several states. After her dad’s retirement from the military, Aimee and her family have put down roots in O’Fallon and have enjoyed living here for the past four and a half years.

Aimee has always wanted to be a positive force in the world and to make a difference. Just two weeks ago, Aimee went to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) and was accepted into the Air National Guard. She is excited and honored to be able to serve in this capacity for her nation. While in the Guard, she will be attending college, studying both business and kinesiology with the hopes of one day starting her own business.

If she has the opportunity to be Miss O’Fallon 2016-2017, Aimee would strive to represent the community with positivity, care, and love. Aimee lives life to the fullest, by looking to the positive. Helen Keller, a role model to Aimee, said this, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Aimee would strive to represent this community by loving from her heart and showing the children and youth of O’Fallon, that living by love, will always yield a happy life.

#5 Kelsey LentzContestant Number Five
Kelsey Lentz

Kelsey Lentz is the daughter of Mike and Stacey Lentz. She is seventeen years-old, and is going into her senior year at O’Fallon Township High School. Kelsey moved to O’Fallon in 2000 because her father, who was active-duty Air force, was transferred from Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, WA, to Scott Air Force Base.

Kelsey enjoys volunteering weekly at Spencer Kennel and Rescue, cleaning cat kennels and spending time with their furry residents. She is the proud parent of a rescue kitty named Punkin who she adopted from Spencer’s. Kelsey loves kids, and loves her job as an after-school care provider at St. Clare School. Several days a week, she enjoys helping the kids with homework and doing other after-school activities. Through the Red Cross, Kelsey gives back to the military by volunteering at the Scott Air Force Base pharmacy. In college, Kelsey plans on earning a minor in Spanish and a doctorate in pharmacy.

If Kelsey were to receive the honor of becoming Miss O’Fallon 2016, she would strive to represent the O’Fallon community with the utmost respect and appreciation. She hopes to be a role-model to younger girls in the community by continuing to uphold her high moral values,and she hopes to inspire them to live their lives with confidence and with the belief that anything is possible if one works hard enough. She would cherish the opportunity to give back to the community that has given her so much.

#6 Victoria BirchemContestant Number Six
Victoria Birchem

Victoria Birchem is the daughter of Bryan and Mary Birchem. She is seventeen years old and will be a senior at O’Fallon Township High School this fall. Victoria was born in 1999 on McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, but moved to O’Fallon in 2001. Because of her young age when moving, Victoria considers O’Fallon her one and only hometown.

In March of 2016, Victoria was hired as a bookkeeper for a dental laboratory, which requires her to pay and record expenses, figure and pay taxes, and calculate and pay employees. She believes that this experience will aid her in becoming a successful accountant and entrepreneur in the future. In the future, Victoria dreams of owning her own business and becoming her own boss.

If she receives the honor of becoming Miss O’Fallon 216-2017, Victoria would strive to be a positive roll model for citizens of all ages, and represent her community with incredible integrity, honor, and respect. As she aims for her highest personal goals, Victoria is encouraged by this quote from Walt Disney. “All our dreams can come true, ifwe have the courage to pursue them.” Victoria would like to show all children and young adults that they can achieve their goals when they truly believe that anything is possible, as well as to give back to the community that has given her so much.

#7 Madeleine HenkenContestant Number Seven
Madeleine Henken

Madeleine Henken is the daughter of Larry Henken and Sarah and Chris Mattingly. She is seventeen years old and will be a senior at O’Fallon Township High School this fall. Madeleine is a second generation lifetime resident of O’Fallon, and she loves that she can call the city of O’Fallon her home.

Madeleine is a strong believer in the saying “the best accessory someone can wear is a smile.” She thinks that smiles are truly powerful and can have the greatest impact on someone’s day. She hopes to inspire more smiles by becoming an orthodontist. Madeleine plans to attend the University of Mississippi to study chemistry on a pre-dental track. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, she hopes to attend the University of Alabama’s School of Dentistry so she can help give people more confidence in their smiles.

If bestowed the privilege of being crowned Miss O’Fallon, Madeleine would put forth her best effort to represent the community she loves with poise, honor, and respect. She would be grateful this opportunity to give back and humbly learn from the town and its citizens that helped raised her into the young woman she is today. Madeleine cherishes the opportunity to be a positive role model to young girls in our beloved community by showing them the importance of having confidence in themselves and compassion for others. If one believes in themselves, they can reach any goal they work towards.

#8 Madison StaceyContestant Number Eight
Maddie Stacey

Maddie Stacey is the daughter of Pam and Tim Stacey. She is currently entering her senior year at O’Fallon Township High School and her fifteenth year in O’Fallon, Illinois. Maddie was born at Scott Airforce Base, and at age two, her family moved to O’Fallon. Although she was not born here, Maddie can’t think of any place she would rather have grown up in and is so thankful to call this town her home.

Earlier this year, Maddie’s cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Beckham. Just after birth, a hole spontaneously opened up in his lung, causing air to leak into his chest cavity and giving him severe respiratory issues. Luckily, with a team of doctors on his side, Beckham is now recovered and thriving. This amazing story is just one of the many reasons Maddie wants to attend college and study pediatrics. Once she becomes a pediatrician, she hopes to help other kids just like her cousin.

If Maddie receives the honor of being Miss O’Fallon 2016-2017, she would make every effort to represent the community and its core values through modesty, selflessness, respect, and pride for her home. Her hope is to serve as a role model for younger children and help inspire them to be their best self. Maddie has seen the wonderful things that Miss O’Fallon has accomplished in the past, and would be honored to be a part of such an amazing legacy of strong, inspirational women.

#9 Elisabeth HansenContestant Number Nine
Elisabeth Hansen

Elisabeth Hansen is the daughter of Mark and Jill Hansen. She is seventeen years old and will be attending O’Fallon Township High School as a senior this fall. Elisabeth, being born at Scott Air Force Base in 1999, has had the amazing honor of being able to grow up in O’Fallon and call it her hometown.

All her life, Elisabeth has taken an interest in the human psyche. In her spare time, she reads books and memoirs on mental illness, and hopes to one-day help those who suffer from these conditions. That’s why, after graduation, Elisabeth plans to attend the University of Alabama, majoring in psychology. She will then eventually receive her PsyD and become a clinical psychologist, helping people with mental illness every day.

If she is graced with the opportunity to be Miss O’Fallon 2016-2017, Elisabeth plans to serve and represent the community the best way she knows how, with the upmost humility, respect, and moral value. She wholeheartedly believes in this quote by Michelle Obama, “The only limit to the height of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work hard for them.” As Miss O’Fallon, she hopes to teach the young girls of the community that they are allowed to dream big, because big dreams lead to huge accomplishments.

#10 Kristen LintvedtContestant Number Ten
Kristen Lindvedt

Kristen Lintvedt, life-long resident of O’Fallon, is overjoyed to be starting her senior year at O’Fallon Township High School this fall. She is the youngest daughter of Pastor Vern and Marty Lintvedt, her most influential role models.  From the time Kristen was a little girl her parents instilled in her the importance of being hard-working, encouraging and compassionate. She hopes that through the Miss O’Fallon Pageant, she will show her parents the young woman she has become; one who puts great emphasis on embodying those qualities to the best of her ability.

In addition to working persistently to advance herself vocally, she has been given many outstanding and uncommon chances to better herself. In 2014, she, as well as the rest of the choir program, had the privilege to perform in Carnegie Hall where she was featured in a trio. This past January, Kristen received the amazing opportunity to participate in the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Choir in which she got to sing alongside the highest scored 11th and 12th grade singers in the state. Kristen also received the lead role of Mrs. Banks in OTHS’s 2016 spring musical Mary Poppins. All of these wonderful experiences are what lead her to choose to study Musical Theatre at college. Kristen hopes to attend DePaul University in Chicago or Illinois State University in Bloomington.

If she is selected to be the next Miss O’Fallon, Kristen will strive to represent her hometown with poise, sincerity and honor. She hopes that, during this troublesome time in America, she can be an example of kindness and love. Kristen is determined to inspire O’Fallon citizens of any age, gender, circumstance, orientation, race or religion to love others unconditionally. She believes this was best stated in one of her favorite bible verses: Colossians 3:14: “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

Grace Blankenship reflects on her time as Miss O’Fallon

Grace Blankenship 2015

“I remember being four and dreaming of being Miss O’Fallon one day. I could’ve never imagined my dreams would come true and I would be looking back on what an unforgettable experience this year has been. I am so honored to have had the privilege to represent and serve the community that shaped me into the young woman I am today. This year as Miss O’Fallon has provided me with special memories and lessons that I will always hold close to my heart. With every event I attended, I felt the love and support of the wonderful town I call home.” – Grace Blankenship