Junior Maddy Bailey was named Miss BEA earlier in May after being nominated for the title by her peers. She holds the role for one year.
Question: What was the process like?
Answer: We get nominated by classmates – it’s just the junior class and they nominated 10 girls. Those girls get called down to the office for some information and it’s really nerve-wracking for your name to get called. Mrs. (Diane) Lucas gives you paperwork and tells you all the things you’re committed to if you get Miss BEA. We also have to answer questions and write a speech and that’s done in front of everyone.
*Bailey was asked who she thinks is the most influential woman in American history, which she responded as Susan B. Anthony.
Q: Tell me about your speech.
A: I feel good about mine because I made it exactly who I am. A lot of the time it’s hard because the speeches are the same, so I feel good that I made mine completely myself. With my speech – I’m very much a person who writes how they talk – so I sat down and started writing. … Being involved in (unified) bocce definitely helped. With bocce, everyone is such a big family and that’s exactly how I feel toward Bald Eagle.
Q: Was that something you were comfortable with?
A: Kind of. I practiced, but just went up there and did it. I was a little out of my element, but I live by this quote, ‘be the girl who just goes for it,’ so I did and thought, ‘let’s just do it.’ I was nervous at first because you’re talking in front of so many people and then it was fine. My speech wasn’t fake at all and felt like it was natural because I was just being me.
Q: Talk about the ceremonies.
A: So, you get nominated and there is a crowning and it allows us to get dressed up for the assembly, which is a lot of fun. The speeches were for ninth to 12-grade and the assembly was for everyone.
Q: Was this something you were expecting?
A: People kept telling me, ‘you’re going to get it’ and I was like, ‘OK. I’m fine with it either way.’ It’s a cool feeling. Some girls get their hopes up and then are disappointed if they don’t get it, but I was fine with the decision either way, because I was still nominated and that was a huge honor.
Q: What does this mean to you?
A: It means a lot because it’s a cool experience and you get the opportunity to do a lot and meet a lot of people. After the crowning, I was wearing the crown around and a lot of the little kids were in awe and congratulating me. Some were even a little shy about it even though they didn’t have to be. I loved that, because I love talking to people and being kind – that’s what I enjoy most – and it gave me an opportunity to do that, so I’m excited to now get out in the community.
Q: What’s next for you in this role?
A: I got to lead a dance at prom – I picked the ‘Cotton-Eye Joe.’ I’ll also go to a lot of parades – Pleasant Gap, Snow Shoe, Grange Fair, Flaming Foliage. Last year, Kaleigh (Cunningham) sometimes traveled to the elementary schools to read to the kids and participate in other activities, so I hope I also get to do that. I’m just glad I can meet new people and have the chance to talk with them and be nice.